"Sensitive skin can be triggered by the elements, like extreme hot or cold environments," New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, tells Refinery29. "Prevention is key, so try to avoid these situations as best you can, and limit sun exposure at peak times of the day." Even if you've heard it before, a reminder doesn't hurt: Daily SPF goes a long way in protecting your skin: "Applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing before a day in the sun is crucial to limiting flare-ups," Engelman adds. "And don’t forget to re-apply!"
As for formulas that won't exacerbate dry, itchy patches? We've got you covered. "Look for a mineral sunscreen — one with zinc or titanium oxide — that provides UVA/UVB protection," Engelman explains, adding that anything with fragrance is immediately a no-go. Another benefit to mineral formulas: They tend to be kinder to acne-prone skin than chemical-based sunscreens.
Engelman recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios to patients: "Look for non-comedogenic and fragrance-free sunscreens, like this one, which is great for eczema," she says. "It be used on the face and body." She also suggests keeping a powder sunscreen in your bag or next to your computer for "easy re-application throughout the day."
One last thing to keep in mind is how you apply the product onto your skin. "Pat on your SPF instead of rubbing, which can increase redness," advises Engelman. Since eczema is a sign of a compromised skin barrier, be sure to also stack your skin-care routine with products that will strengthen and restore your skin; ingredients like ceramides, omega fatty acids, and lipids provide long-lasting hydration and comfort — and, thanks to innovations in sunscreens, are widely available in many formulas.
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