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- Best sunblock for psoriasis for the face and body: Badger Sunscreen Cream
- Best tinted sunblock for psoriasis: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid
- Best sunblock for psoriasis with vitamin C: Derma E Sun Defense Clear Zinc Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30
- Best sheer sunblock for psoriasis: Drunk Elephant Umbra SheerPhysical Daily Defense SPF 30
- Best value sunblock for psoriasis: All Good SPF 30 Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
For many people, warm weather means outdoor activities like swimming and backyard barbecues.
But sunlight can be a friend — or foe — for those living with psoriasis. Making sure you choose the right sunblock for your sensitive skin can mean the difference between an amazing day outside, and one that’s worthy of nightmares.
Proper sun protection during outdoor activities is important for everyone. But people with psoriasis need to be particularly careful.
If you have psoriasis, you may have heard that exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays has actually been shown to help with the autoimmune skin condition.
“UVB rays are actually good for people with psoriasis,” says Jacqueline Schaffer, MD, founder of Schique Skincare. UVB rays help slow the skin growth and shedding that happens with psoriasis.
But too much sun exposure — of both UVA and UVB rays — can be a problem. “If people with psoriasis are overexposed, it can actually worsen the skin,” Schaffer says. “They’re extra sensitive versus someone who doesn’t have psoriasis.”
Psoriasis also mostly affects people with lighter skin tones who are already more prone to sunburn.
Plus, certain medications used to treat psoriasis can cause increased photosensitivity. This makes a person sunburn more easily.
For all these reasons, wearing sunblock when you have psoriasis is crucial. It’s important to choose wisely since skin may already be irritated and sensitive.
Make sure there are no parabens, no formaldehyde, and no other really strong preservatives.
— Jacqueline Schaffer, MD
Follow these expert tips next time you’re shopping for sunblock.
1. Make sure you’re buying sunblock, not sunscreen
“Sunscreen is known to be absorbed into your skin, whereas sunblock actually sits on top of your skin and reflects the UV rays,” Schaffer says.
Many products are a mixture of both, so a product labeled “sunscreen” can still have enough protection if it also contains sunblock. Common sunblock ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
2. Avoid preservatives and chemicals
“Make sure there are no parabens, no formaldehyde, and no other really strong preservatives that can be damaging to the skin,” Schaffer says. These ingredients can irritate psoriasis patches.
3. If you’re shopping for a child, don’t buy sunblock with added color
Some companies now offer colored or “disappearing color” sunblocks. Parents should avoid buying these for children with psoriasis, Schaffer says, as they can irritate skin.
4. Don’t buy sunblocks with added scents
Added fragrances can aggravate the skin in people with psoriasis.
5. Buy SPF 30 or above
People with psoriasis need just as much sun protection as everybody else. This is especially true if they’re on medications that can increase their sensitivity to the sun.
SPF 15 doesn’t provide enough protection throughout the day. “A lot of studies from the American Academy of Dermatology have shown that SPF 30 is more effective for longer use as a sunblock,” Schaffer notes.
6. Look for the label ‘broad spectrum’
This meansthe product will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Even though UVB rays can be beneficial in treating psoriasis, people with the condition should still have sunblock on to protect against too much exposure to both types of rays.
The sunblocks on our list were carefully chosen and vetted. Following the advice from our expert, Schaffer, we looked for:
- sunblocks that don’t include potential irritants like parabens, formaldehyde, potent preservatives, added color, or fragrances
- sunblocks that include the mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
- sunblocks that are broad spectrum and provide SPF 30 or higher protection
We also carefully considered customer reviews, the prices of products, and selected products only from trusted brands.
Sunscreen can become costly, as it’s something you regularly use that sometimes comes in small bottles. We considered options from different brands at a range of prices, to bring the best possible selection.
Sunscreens in this article are broken down on a price per ounce basis according to the following key:
- $ = under $6 per ounce
- $$ = $7-12 per ounce
- $$$ = more than $12 per ounce
If you have psoriasis, try one of the following products that made it through the above checklist and past the experts.
Best sunblock for psoriasis for the face and body
Badger Sunscreen Cream
- Price: $
- Size: 2.9-ounce (oz.) bottle
Schaffer recommends this SPF 40 mineral-based cream because it’s unscented and doesn’t have dyes or chemicals. It uses four ingredients, and 98 percent of them are organic. You can use this sunscreen on both your face and body.
The certified non-GMO formula includes uncoated zinc oxide at 22.5 percent, and it adds organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, and sunflower vitamin E for a moisturizing boost. The brand also says it’s hypoallergenic and gluten-free.
The product is designed to resist water for 80 minutes, but you’ll want to be mindful and reapply every 2 hours.
Coral reef safety is a big concern for many sunblock users. The company says this product is reef-safe. Even the manufacturing is eco-friendly — the company says it’s made with 100 percent solar power.
Amazon reviewers are impressed with the quality, especially given its reasonable price. A number mentioned that the formula is thick, so it may take some elbow grease to squeeze the product out of the tube. You may also need some extra time to rub it into your skin completely.
- The formula is simple and is almost completely organic.
- This sunblock is cruelty-free and reef-safe.
- The product is highly rated among customers.
- The formula is thick and may take extra time to apply.
- You’ll want to reapply fairly frequently — every 2 hours.
Best tinted sunblock for psoriasis
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid
- Price: $$$
- Size: 1.7-oz. bottle
This water-resistant product, which is free of dyes, fragrances, oil, and chemicals, is one of Schaffer’s go-to recommendations. It’s a 100 percent mineral sunscreen that’s safe for sensitive skin, and it’s noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores.
This sunscreen is tinted with a matte finish, which some may prefer. For those who’d rather skip the tinted glow, there’s an untinted version available on the company’s website.
The sunscreen is lightweight, nonwhitening, and nongreasy, according to the company. The majority of Amazon reviewers seem to agree it checks those boxes.
One complaint from Amazon reviewers about the tinted version is that there’s only one shade available. The tinted version doesn’t include zinc oxide, using instead titanium dioxide, which may be a drawback for some.
- It’s free from chemicals, dyes, and fragrances.
- It’s safe for sensitive skin types.
- It’s lightweight and won’t clog pores.
- This formula is designed for the face, not the whole body.
- The tinted version comes in only one shade, and doesn’t include zinc oxide.
Best sunblock for psoriasis with vitamin C
Derma E Sun Defense Clear Zinc Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30
- Price: $$
- Size: 2-oz. bottle
This broad spectrum, oil-free sunblock is chemical-free and contains vitamin C and green tea, which can help skin recover after sun exposure. It also contains soothing aloe vera. To protect you from UVA and UVB rays, this sunblock uses non-nano mineral zinc oxide.
The brand says this pick checks a number of other boxes, as it’s:
Keep in mind that some reviewers mention pilling or peeling and a white cast — a common, but still bothersome, factor in mineral sunscreens.
- It contains antioxidants, such as vitamin C and green tea.
- The formula is free from fragrance, oil, and chemicals.
- It’s reef-safe and cruelty-free.
- The formula is intended for use on the face.
- Some reviewers note pilling, peeling, or white cast.
Best sheer sunblock for psoriasis
Drunk Elephant Umbra SheerPhysical Daily Defense SPF 30
- Price: $$
- Size: 3-oz. bottle
This SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen contains 20 percent zinc oxide, as well as algae and sunflower sprout extracts for additional antioxidant protection. Aloe vera is tossed in to soothe and moisturize.
It doesn’t use sunblocking chemicals (it’s mineral-based), essential oils, silicones, and fragrances. Plus it’s cruelty-free.
The brand suggests applying this sunscreen to the face, neck, chest, and backs of hands. So, it’s not considered an all-over sunscreen, but it works for more than just your face. The company also says it’s safe for daily use and sensitive skin types.
Reviews in Google are split. Some users call it their favorite, noting how effective it is for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Others were underwhelmed — one said they wished it felt more moisturizing, while another pointed out a white cast (but again, it’s tough to find mineral sunscreens that completely leave out a white cast).
- The formula contains ingredients for antioxidant protection.
- The formula is free of chemicals, essential oils, silicones, and fragrances.
- This sunscreen is safe for sensitive skin types and daily use.
- It may leave a white cast.
Best value sunblock for psoriasis
All Good SPF 30 Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
- Price: $
- Size: 3-oz. bottle
This certified organic sunscreen is made with sensitive skin in mind, leaving out harsh chemicals.
The non-GMO formula uses 16 percent non-nano particle zinc oxide to block UVA and UVB rays (as well as blue light from screens). The exclusion of chemical sunscreen ingredients also makes this sunscreen coral reef-friendly.
The sunblock is also:
This pick gets high marks among Google reviewers, who mention it’s kind to their sensitive skin and doesn’t leave them feeling sticky or greasy.
It’s intended for use on the face and body, which makes it a pretty convenient go-to for all uses. Plus, there’s a 16-oz. family-size version with a pump top available.
The only complaints we found on this one say that it has a thick consistency, and may leave a white cast behind if it’s not fully rubbed in.
- This sunscreen is certified organic.
- The formula is safe for sensitive skin types.
- It doesn’t include harsh chemicals and is reef-friendly.
- The texture may be thick.
- It may leave behind a white cast — though fully rubbing it in should help.
What type of sunscreen is best for psoriasis?
People with psoriasis should look for mineral (physical) sunscreens that include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The sunscreens they use should have an SPF of 30 or higher.
Should people with psoriasis wear sunscreen every day?
Most people — those with psoriasis and those without — should wear SPF daily. If you believe your symptoms improve with some sun exposure, limit your time in the sun without sunblock to just about 5- or 10-minute periods. Keep in mind that too much exposure could potentially worsen your symptoms.
What ingredients should I avoid when selecting a sunscreen?
It’s a good idea to avoid potentially irritating ingredients like intense preservatives, parabens, formaldehyde, and added color or fragrances.
Some companies will advertise that their sunblock doesn’t contain these ingredients. But it’s always good to double-check the label on products that say they’re good for sensitive skin, and don’t call out certain ingredients their formula excludes.
Can sunshine help with psoriasis?
Some sun exposure can benefit people with psoriasis. But when people with psoriasis are overexposed to the sun, they may see worsened symptoms.
People with psoriasis should wear sunblock in the sun, even when using the sun as treatment for their condition. Look for broad spectrum, fragrance- and preservative-free sunblocks that are at least SPF 30.
If you have psoriasis and are planning on being in the sun, experts recommend starting with 10 minutes of exposure at noon, then increasing exposure by 30 seconds to 1 minute each day.