Applying sunscreen on the skin is the first line of defence against the harmful rays of the sun. It has become a routine part of our lives because you probably heard it a million times that sunscreen is the most important part of skincare regime. Especially when the summer is in full swing, you tend to be even more alert in applying sunscreen. But sometimes, sunscreens that suppose to protect our skin from harm may cause allergies. These allergies can be mild to severe and needs immediate attention. There are some tanning treatments that could come to rescue in this situation, but understanding the concept of sunscreen allergies in the first place is important.
What is Sunscreen Allergy?
A sunscreen allergy can be recognized as an itchy, blistering skin rash developed after applying sunscreen to one’s skin usually within a few hours to 2 days. According to a report, less than 1% of the world’s population is allergic to an active ingredient in sunscreen, causing redness, itching, and blisters. These ingredients could be fragrance, UV absorber, preservatives or certain components available in sunscreen causing reactions or allergies.
Types of Sunscreen Allergies:
Contact Dermatitis – Contact dermatitis is a very common form of sunscreen reaction. It happens to people who are sensitive towards an ingredient found in sunscreen causing the skin to be allergic or irritant.
Photoallergy Contact Dermatitis – Photoallergy is a sign of allergic reaction to sunscreen, which happens only when the sunscreen was applied to the skin and is exposed to the sun. It is less common but causes irritation because of a reaction between the sun’s rays and the ingredients present in sunscreen.
Symptoms of Sunscreen Allergies:
There are several symptoms of sunscreen allergy that depends on the level of severity. Some chemicals like PABA, avobenzone, cinnamates, oxybenzone, and added fragrances are common causes for allergic reactions. Your skin may develop the following sunscreen allergies or irritants.
- Red Rash
- Dry patch
- Itchy skin
- Draining fluid
Sunscreen rashes are unpleasant and uncomfortable and should be treated as early as possible. You could avoid getting sunscreen rashes by getting a sunscreen suitable for your skin type. But, if you are already suffering from sunscreen allergies you can occasionally take tan removal treatments for best results and other preventions. Here are more ways to treat sunscreen allergies:
Treating Sunscreen Allergies:
- Washing the exposed area and discontinue the usage of irritant sunscreen. This is also the easiest sun tan removal hack.
- Using anti-itch lotions and creams soothes itchy skin.
- Corticosteroid or tacrolimus based creams usually helps to relieve inflammation caused by sunscreen
- Oral antihistamines are said to relieve itching and allergic reactions
- Stay out of the sun until your skin is healed completely, which may take up to 3 weeks.
- Visit expert dermatologist to understand various treatments available for sunscreen allergies.
How to prevent Sunscreen Allergies?
Patch Test – Your dermatologist may suggest you to take a patch test to know the ingredients causing sunscreen allergies. If your sunscreen causes any of the above mention allergies or irritant then you should probably avoid using it. To determine photoallergic contact dermatitis, photo patch testing is usually recommended.
Natural Sunscreen – Choose a sunscreen that has been certified as organic. Natural sunscreen has a fewer chemical involved, mostly 70% to 80% of the ingredients used in it are natural. For people cautious about anti-ageing, sun damage and risk of developing skin disease must protect their skin with natural sunscreen.
Cover Up – Sunscreen allergy can be minimized by preventing your skin from direct exposure to the UV rays. While, wearing sunscreen is important when you are outdoors, taking extra measures such as wearing long sleeves, full pants and hats can reduce the risk. Camping stores usually have sun protection clothes and accessories.
Visit Dermatologist – It is always better to take an expert’s advice before concluding on the steps. An expert dermatologist or skin doctor may suggest taking a blood or skin test to identify your allergens. Further treatment will be suggested based on the severity of the allergies. Sometimes allergy shots, antihistamines or changing sunscreen is all you may need.
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