Tips to Manage Sunscreen Allergy

Sunscreen or sunblock protects our skin from by absorbing or reflecting the UV rays of the sun. However, the chemicals used in the sunscreen may cause sunscreen allergy in a few people. This reaction takes place when our body mistakenly identifies some chemicals in the sunscreen as harmful and reacts to it.

In some cases, sunscreen allergy develops only when you are exposed to the sun. These reactions are known as photoallergic reactions. Photoallergic reactions are caused when the sunscreen reacts with the UV rays, resulting in an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of Sunscreen/Sunblock Allergy:

Sunscreen allergy results in contact dermatitis. Its symptoms are:

  • Red rashes
  • Blisters, hives
  • Itchiness or burning sensation of the skin

Chemicals which may cause Sunscreen Allergy:

Sunscreen allergy can be caused due to the chemicals in the sunscreen which are supposed to absorb or protect the skin from UV rays. Allergy can also be caused due to the fragrances and preservatives used in the sunscreen. Here are a few chemicals which may cause sunscreen allergy:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Butyl methoxy dibenzoylmethane
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Benzophenone

Tips to Manage Sunscreen Allergy:

Here are a few tips to manage sunscreen allergy:

  • Choose a sunscreen which is labeled hypoallergenic
  • Use a sunscreen which contains physical blockers such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These agents are known to be safe for those with sunscreen allergies
  • Wear a hat when outdoors, even though you have applied sunscreen
  • Contact your allergist to know which sunscreens may be suitable for you. Some products such as Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock SPF 30 are especially made for sensitive skin

If your sunblock allergy is persistent, contact an allergist who can perform patch testing to diagnose and treat sunscreen allergy.

Who are susceptible to Sunscreen Allergy?

The following groups have greater risk of developing allergy to sunscreens:

  • Women, since they usually use cosmetics with sunscreens
  • Individuals with sun-related skin ailments, including sun-damaged skin
  • Persons with atopic dermatitis
  • People who appy sunscreens to skin that is damaged
  • Individuals taking part in outdoor occupations

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