Calling all warriors of the immune disease world – yes, I’m looking at you, dear champions!
With bodies that keep us on our toes and the sun that doesn’t stop its shining, we need to take that extra step in skin protection. But let’s face it, not every sunscreen is suited for our unique needs, right?
Worry not, as we’ve embarked on a mission to find the best sunscreens exclusively tailored to safeguard the skin of those with autoimmune diseases. From the most sensitive to the most sun-intolerant skin types, we’ve got you covered—literally!
Finding Your Sunscreen Soulmate When You Have an Autoimmune Disease
Navigating the world of sunscreen can be a bit of a maze, especially when you’re living with an autoimmune disease. It’s not just about avoiding sunburn – it’s a crucial part of your health journey. But worry not! We’re here to make the quest for that perfect sunscreen a tad bit easier.
Let’s talk about some of the key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a sunscreen when you have an autoimmune disease.
- SPF Rating. First off, let’s chat SPF (aka sun protection factor). Aim for SPF 30 or above to ensure optimal protection against harmful UVB rays. This is especially crucial for individuals with autoimmune diseases when your skin might be throwing curveballs due to an autoimmune condition. Look for “broad spectrum” too — that means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays, which is absolutely mandatory (don’t worry, most sunscreens are broad spectrum, and all the ones we list in this article definitely are).
- Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens. Physical mineral sunscreens are often recommended for those with sensitive or reactive skin (which is usually the case for most folks with autoimmune diseases). Containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, physical sunscreens act as a shield, reflecting sunlight away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin instead of sitting on top of it. On one hand, this can mean no white cast. But these sunscreens also tend to trigger skin irritation or allergic reactions due to their absorption into the skin, for the sensitive skin crowd.
- Ingredients to Avoid. Seek out sunscreens free from added fragrances, parabens, or other potentially irritating chemical sunscreen ingredients. Options infused with antioxidants can be beneficial, offering an added layer of protection against skin damage.
- Water Resistance. Opt for water-resistant sunscreen formulas if you think you’ll be swimming or sweating a lot. But if you’ll just be running errands, this isn’t necessary.
Best Sunscreen for Autoimmune Disease
1. Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
About: Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen Lotion delivers a high level of sun protection while keeping nasty chemicals far from your precious skin. Designed with sporty folks in mind, it won’t hamper your active lifestyle — whether you’re pumping iron, running marathons, or just chasing after your kids in the yard (exhausting, we know).
- Impressive SPF and Mineral-Based: Block that sun efficiently with a strong SPF 50 and broad spectrum coverage. And bonus, its key ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide, so it’s safe for you as well as the coral reefs!
- Water and Sweat Proof: It fights sun damage like a true warrior, staying intact even with sweat or water for up to 80 minutes.
- Free from Nasties: Just say ‘No’ to substances like PABA, parabens, phthalates, and toxic chemicals. Your autoimmune condition will thank you.
- Its broad-spectrum protection and resilience to sweat and water make it an excellent pick for those hardcore sports enthusiasts
- Animal lovers can rest easy as it’s Leaping Bunny certified.
- Lotion sunscreens can take a bit more time and effort to apply, and this one’s no exception.
- It might leave you looking a little like a flour-dusted pasty, but hey, that’s better than the lobster look, right?
2. Babo Botanicals Zinc Sport Sunscreen Stick
Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sport Stick
A compact and travel-friendly stick sunscreen
- SPF 30 and broad spectrum mineral zinc sunscreen
- Stick formula designed to protect face, lips, nose and ears
- Reef-safe and hypoallergenic
- Clinically tested and rated number #1 in safety by Environment Working Group (EWG)
About: Babo Botanicals Zinc Sport Sunscreen Stick believes in keeping things simple, pure, and effective. Perfect for shielding your face, this mineral stick sunscreen is friendly for your skin and the environment too. Swipe away, worry-free!
- Handy Application: We get it – sunscreens can be greasy, but not this one. Shaped like your favorite lip balm or mini deodorant, it’s easy to apply to your skin and can be thrown in your purse or back-pack easily to take on the go.
- Skin-Soothing Ingredients: Apart from its tough, sun-blocking zinc oxide, it nurtures your skin with heavenly ingredients like jojoba oil, avocado, and shea butter.
- Hypoallergenic and Sensitive Skin-Friendly: Your autoimmune condition won’t wave any red flags with this gentle, allergy-tested formula.
- Free from Extra Allergens and Harmful Chemicals: With a formula free from gluten, soy, dairy, and nuts, it’s a salute to sensitive skin! Also, there’s no oxybenzone and octinoxate, making it reef-friendly. Boasting a physical mineral composition, it doesn’t have the same kind of ingredients as in chemical sunscreens that frequently cause irritation.
- It can be used on lips, and the delicate skin of your ears and nose too, handling those areas your sunglasses and hat can’t reach!
- The stick is an easy, mess-free way to apply sunscreen.
- You might find that its size leaves something to be desired — great things do come in small packages, but sometimes you wish the package was a bit bigger, especially given the price tag.
- It can be difficult to get full coverage with a stick like this, so it’s best for just using on the face, hands, or areas of the body long-sleeved clothes aren’t covering.
3. Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Cream Sunscreen
Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Sunscreen
A mattifying BB-cream great for face coverage
- SPF 50 plus broad spectrum protection
- Mineral sunscreen with zinc & titanium
- Subtle tint that blends into many skin tones and covers blemishes
- Mattifying BB Cream that's oil-free and won't clog pores
- Includes soothing antioxidant-rich elements like eucalyptus & red algae
- Non-nano and free of parabens, PABA, sulfate, and others
About: The Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Cream Sunscreen is something of a skin superfood — think of it as a powerful broad brim hat, a concealer, and a dash of vitamins, all wrapped up in one little tube to protect against harmful rays. This physical sunscreen with SPF 50 is one that’s sure to treat your skin right.
- Safety-First Sunscreen: Uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, known best friends of sensitive skin. Say “G’Day mate!” to safety and “Bugger off!” to sun damage.
- Three-in-One Goodness: Designed to work as a sunscreen, a BB cream, and an antioxidant source. It’s like the multitasker of the sunscreen world!
- Nourishing Additions: Loaded with goodies like kakadu plum for Vitamin C, eucalyptus, and red algae for that sun-protecting, skin-nourishing double act!
- The tinted formula provides a nice matte finish that hides fine lines and blemishes, while offering broad-spectrum protection.
- The tint may not work well for very fair or dark skin tones. So, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
4. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
About: Just like its namesake creature, the Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is hard-working, resilient, and great at protecting you from unwanted sun exposure. This mineral broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 50 was formulated with tender, loving care for sensitive skin.
- Sticking to the Basics: A simple mineral formula that leans on trusty zinc oxide to bounce off those mean UV rays.
- Sensitive, Smart and Safe: Made to respect your skin, it’s fragrance-free and paraben-free, a total peace treaty between your skin and the sun.
- Water-Resistant: Whether you’re a relentless splash-bomber, or a poolside lounger, this sunscreen won’t wash off easily.
- It’s kind to sensitive skin and struts its water-resisting power with pride.
- Although it’s working hard to protect your skin, it may leave a white cast. But trust us, that’s just a badge of honor showing it’s working!
5. EltaMD UV Daily SPF 40 Tinted Sunscreen
About: Luxury meets efficacy with EltaMD UV Daily SPF 40 Tinted Sunscreen. This lightweight, blendable sunblock creates a smooth canvas, perfect for that no-makeup makeup look, while keeping harmful UV rays at bay.
- Physical UV Protection: A mineral sunscreen with clear zinc oxide that multitasks to protect and perfect your skin. Isn’t that an unbeatable combo?
- Light as a Feather: Lightweight texture that works a dream under makeup. It won’t leave you feeling like an oil slick!
- Quench that Thirst: Added hyaluronic acid hydrates your skin, making it a little oasis in the dry desert of life.
- The tint doubles as a lightweight foundation, and it’s added hydration is a literal lifesaver if your skin’s dry and needs a drink
- The haute couture of the sunscreen world comes at a premium price, alas! Still, perfect for when you want to splurge on your face.
Risks for Sun and Auto Immune Issues – But Don’t Fret!
There are a few risks people with autoimmune diseases are more at risk for. These include:
- Photosensitivity: For those of us with autoimmune diseases, our skin can sometimes act like a vampire in sunlight – not a fan! Many auto immune sufferers experience enhanced sensitivity to sunlight (whether due to the immune disease itself or necessary medications to treat the illness). Use sunscreen and sun protective clothing, plus sun hats, to have a full barrier of protection.
- Skin Irritation: Before you slather that new lotion all over, give it a test run on a small patch of skin to make sure it plays nice. Better safe than sorry!
- Autoimmune Flares: Sun can be a tricky beast, occasionally causing flares. Stay attuned to your body’s signals and seek shade when needed.
Expert Advice – Because We’re Not All-knowing! A chat with your dermatologist or rheumatologist can be a game changer. They’re your all-knowing guide on this journey, offering tailored advice to fit your unique journey.
Other Tips for Sun Safety When You’re Dealing With an Auto Immune Disease
- Limit Sun Exposure: Try to avoid peak sunlight hours between 10 AM to 4 PM. That’s when the sun is at its strongest!
- Stay in the Shade: Always seek out shady spots under trees, UV umbrellas, or covered patios. Even if you’re wearing sunscreen, double down on your defense with some good old fashioned shade.
- Apply Abundantly: Apply the sunscreen every single day, no excuses. And not just a skimpy drop either – you should use a shot glass worth for your body and about 1/3 teaspoon on your face. And reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating. This isn’t a one-and-done situation, folks!
- Wear Protective Clothing: Seek out sun hats, clothes, and sunglasses that have UV protection built in. Think of them as your armor against your solar nemesis.
There you have it, folks! I would love to hear your thoughts on these sunscreens. What’s your favorite from the list, or do you have other recommendations for autoimmune warriors? Let me know by dropping a comment below!