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Is the sun good for atopic eczema? - HealedByTheOcean

Is the sun good for atopic eczema?

, by Lindsey Carrier, 3 min reading time

In most cases, the sun is good for eczema

Generally speaking, the sun is your friend if you have eczema. In summer, many see their condition improve on its own.

In some cases, however, the sun may be poorly tolerated and cause you to sweat, which then leads to itching or photosensitivity, or an “allergy to the sun”.

The sun tends to alleviate atopic eczema

True, but only in small doses

Those of you who have had eczema for several years know: with summer usually comes relief. Why? Because eczema is a type of inflammation, and the sun provides an anti-inflammatory effect.

More specifically, its ultra-violet (UV) rays may help improve eczema. This is the concept behind phototherapy, used to minimize flare-ups.

Be careful, however. We all know that high doses of UV rays can have harmful effects (skin aging, dermatological diseases, cancer, etc.). You must maintain just the right balance to reap the benefits all while avoiding the sun’s harmful effects.

The sun, yes. But what about heat?

The UV rays are what makes the sun beneficial, not the infrared light, meaning heat is a no-no. At home, avoid cranking up the thermostat. This will only dry out your already fragile skin even more and cause itching if you sweat.

How to optimize the positive effect of the sun and summer

Follow your skin care routine

Keep up your routine, even in summer. Consistency is key for optimum protection against eczema. Going away on holiday? Remember to pack your emollient and topical corticosteroids! Choose the right texture for each season. When in doubt, ask your pharmacist for advice.

Protect your skin to avoid sunburn

Sun exposure is beneficial, but only if you protect your skin!

Clothing & parasol

What is the best sun protection? Clothing. This is especially true for small children, and special anti-UV clothing is also available. In addition to sun cream, remember to bring your T-shirt, hat, sunglasses and parasol. Be especially careful between the hours of 2 pm and 4 pm, when the sun is at its highest.

Not all fabrics provide the same level of protection. Tightly woven fabrics and darker colors are the best choice for UV protection clothing. Fine fabrics and light colors, on the other hand, let UV light pass through.

Sun cream

Use a sun cream with a high SPF (50+) and apply a generous amount, but avoid rubbing it in too much. (Your skin should remain slightly white). In order to be effective, the cream must stay on the skin’s surface.

Be sure to spread it on all exposed areas. The ladybug technique is a helpful, fun way to apply your cream without forgetting any areas, such as the tops of the feet!

Opt for so-called “mineral” formulas which are free of fragrance and chemical filters to avoid damaging the skin. Certain photoprotectors, like octocrylene or benzophenone-3, are not recommended for children with atopic skin due to risk of allergy.

Drink lots of water

The golden rule in the summer, and all year round for that matter, is to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly, especially during increased sun exposure or when participating in outdoor sports.

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