Sun Protection and RA

I have to admit, I absolutely hate sunscreen.

This is bad because I have extremely fair skin, am extra sensitive due to lupus, and I am also extra sensitive because of the RA meds I am on.

The other problem is that I suspect I am allergic to the ingredients and scents in some sunscreens.

But I have experienced the results of not wearing sunscreen.

For one thing, I get a skin rash along with a sunburn (lupus-related).

For another, I burn super quick (RA medication-related).

And for another, sometimes my skin gets really dry and scaly after a sunburn.  This is different than peeling (probably related to a combination of things).

So every year I make a big deal out of finding a sunscreen that I can tolerate and that actually keeps me protected from the sun.

There are many brands now, from cheaper to more expensive, that you can purchase at the drugstore.


I know many people really love Aveeno.  I find that I can’t really stand the scent or the thickness of their sunscreen.

Banana Boat

I have always felt that Banana Boat is the cheapest way you can go before drugstore brands.  I haven’t really had luck with it.

Cera Ve

This is a fancier and more expensive brand of sunscreen, which I have never tried.


The one I found for this year is Coopertone Clearly Sheer Beach & Pool Spray SPF 50 and Coopertone Clearly Sheer Beach & Pool Face Lotion SPF 50.

The reason I opted for the Beach and Pool version is because it has a higher SPF than their Sunny Days formula.  I also figured it would be more sweat-proof.

I’ve only used it once so far, but I really am impressed.  The smell is light and so is the thickness of the sunscreen.  Plus, my face didn’t break out at all from it.  And most importantly, I didn’t burn at all.

La Roche-Posay

This is also a fancier and more expensive brand of sunscreen, which I have never tried, either.


I’ve never tried Loreal sunscreen before, but it seems really popular this year.


I have the same problem with Neutrogena that I do with Aveeno.  Even though you can get a really high SPF, like 100, I find that the smell and the thickness of the sunscreen really turn me off.

Obviously this list of brands is not exhaustive, but basically covers the brands that my local CVS had.

I personally have never tried department store make-up brands sunscreen, although there are many of those, as well.  Although I am not honestly sure if the increase in price really provides and increase in the quality of sun protection.

My tips:

  • I use separate sunscreens for body and face.  I find that even with regular sunscreens that say they won’t make you break out, I do.
  • I prefer the spray to the lotion for my body.  Although I usually spray and then rub in to make sure I cover all areas.
  • I try and stay away from sunscreens that have an SPF higher than 50.  In my experience, sunscreens with really high SPFs are more scented and absorb less well than those that are a little bit lower.  And I am not sure that they really provide much, if any, additional sun protection.
  • I don’t use sunscreen under 45 SPF, unless it is in a makeup product that I happen to be using, which I don’t really consider providing much sun protection.
  • While I don’t buy super-expensive sunscreen, I also stay away from drugstore brand sunscreen like CVS.  This is not to say that their sunscreen isn’t great, but I’ve always opted to pay a few more dollars a bottle to get sunscreen that I am confident will work.
  • I keep a container of aloe gel in the refrigerator at all times.  This really is a lifesaver when you have a sunburn.

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