Rash on Arms from Sun?

Updated on May 21, 2012
D.M. asks from Littleton, CO
10 answers

My 4 year old daughter is very fair skinned. Every time she's in the sun for 5 minutes even... her arms turn bright red. Not hot and not sunburn. It used to get better quickly. Now she's got a rash on them that doesn't go away - rough, almost excema-like. When I put any lotion on it she says it burns... maybe it's the sunscreen we are using (aveeno)... anyone have any experience with this? Also, any organic or recommended sunscreen for kids with super sensitive skin? Thank you : )

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answers from Provo on

we use coopertone when my baby had a reaction to normal sunscreen...broke out in a rash. they make a sensitive sunscreen. As probably not the case at all, but just be on the alert for a sun sensitivity. It is extremly rare, I think more genetically linked. My friends kid has it and has to have her face in a shade screen and long sleeves and long pants anytime she is out in the sun. Like I said that is extremly rare, so more than likely a reaction to sunscreen.

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answers from Denver on

I want you to look into what you are putting on your child...
Aveeno is listed here as one of the worst offenders.

Look threw this guide and sight and inform yourself as to what is effective to use on a child as well as adults. The whole sunscreen industry is a scam if you ask me.

After much research we use California Baby. It is pricey, but all the good ones will be. This can be found at Target in the baby lotion isle... I have 2 very fair kids who turn red in moments of being in the sun and this stuff works to prevent sunburns. You do have to use properly. Most people don't know that for a family of 4, out in the sun all day, an entire tube of sunscreen should be used if put on correctly. Before I learned this I had tubes for months and months before using them all up. Crazy!

Anyhow good luck...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I'm extremely fair skinned and get rashes from sun exposure (and even without burning). I've tried it all to get rid of them and the only thing that works for me is a cortisone lotion like Cortaid. It doesn't sting.

Coppertone makes a sensitive skin formula sunscreen in SPF 50. I also have good luck with Target brand suncreen. The Aveeno sunscreen also irritates my skin.

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answers from Denver on

My daughter's got very similar skin, and she does have eczema.

When she has a breakout, we give her a bath, and with skin still wet we apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone, then a thick layer of vaseline. This has always helped with heat rashes, too. We do this every night and then put on long-sleeved, long-legged all-cotton pajamas--even in the summer; since they are cotton they don't get too hot and we keep the house as cool as we can.

We have personally had bad luck with Aveeno lotion: lots of red, itchy bumps like a rash, and it makes her very uncomfortable. We like Neutrogena's spray sunblock---I think it's called dry touch--comes in an aerosol can and is SPF 100. We've never had a breakout from that.

Of course every kid is different, so I hope that helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Check out ewg.org. It'll give you lots of good information. Search sunscreens. It could be the PABA. It can cause an allergic reaction that makes the sun burn bad! We can use almost anything from Whole Foods for my son with eczema and me. GL!



answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter's skin does the red thing too. She's pretty fair skinned, and each time she gets hot her cheeks and arms turn bright, lobster red. I know it's not a burn too because they return to normal as soon as she cools down.

We use a natural sunscreen, no chemicals, which could be making her skin feel like it's "burning" - use something who's main ingredient is Zinc Oxide 20% or higher. Zinc Oxide isn't absorbed into the skin, is a powerful UVA UVB blocker... plus the good ones smell and feel just like chemical sunscreens, and no risk of cancer or skin rashes.

The kind we use is called "thinksport" but I don't know how available it is everywhere - Badger Balm products are also really good.

P.S It says I'm from California, but I live in Ontario Canada lol I didn't know any other american zip codes to sign up :P



answers from Kansas City on

My son has always had some excema issues and his skin does that when he's inthe sun too, so it could be that. I could try using some excema cream like Cetaphil or Aquaphor. Sometimes it does hurt my son too when I put the cream on, but if you go with a really mild one then it helps. Also, make sure you use cream, not lotion. If it doesn't work you may talk to your doctor and think about getting a steroid cream. It could be the sunscreen but Aveeno is generally pretty good, so I'm thinking it's more excema related.



answers from Great Falls on

My sensitive-skinned kiddos like "Neutrogena pure & free baby sunblock lotion." It's SPF 60 and a mineral-based sunscreen, so it seems to be less irritating than regular chemical-based sunscreens. My 6-year-old daughter says that regular sunscreen stings her face, but she likes this. It will make kids look a bit vampirish (because of the zinc oxide), and you have to scrub it off with a cloth at the end of the day, and it's around $10 for 3 ounces, BUT...it works well! My kids don't get sunburned and their skin doesn't break out like it does with other sunscreens. I've seen this sunscreen at Target, Walmart, and CVS.



answers from Salt Lake City on

My son has super sensitive skin. So far the sunblocks that don't irritate him and are still fairly effective are Coppertone Water Babies 50 SPF (which I use when we're going to be in the water, although not for daily use since it has chemicals which the Environmental Working Group has identified as concerning), Nature's Gate Kid's mineral sunblock 20 SPF (like spreading spackle, but works), Burt's Bees 30 SPF (easier to spread, needs reapplying more frequently), and Kiss My Face Hot Spots SPF 30 stick for faces (compact and fits in my purse, great for those "I almost forgot" moments to cover ears, noses, cheeks, and lips).

Aveeno broke us out, too.



answers from Boise on

I developed the same issue while pregnant with my oldest. I too am fair skined and was getting a rash on my arms and chest after being in the sun. It was itchy and rough. I finally went to the dermatologist and they said it is an actual allergy to the sun. It tends to develop in fair skined females that live in the moutain west areas. I would maybe guess that is what your daughter has going on. The only remedy for it was to use a steriod cream and it helped tremendously but they also suggested wearing the sun protector clothing when out in the sun. It can get better after the first few good exposures to the sun but may also last throughout the summer. I don't have any great recommendations on sunscreen but I hope this helps some.

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