Six Surprising Things that Make Your Skin More Sensitive to the Sun

Posted by Monarch Plastic Surgery

Nov 3, 2017 7:01:00 AM

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Let’s face it, being red and burned is unattractive. And worse, damage is occurring beneath the surface of your skin that may not surface for years. If you haven’t heard of photosensitivity and the more severe form phototoxicity, you’ll want to educate yourself now. Photosensitivity is the degree to which your skin reacts when exposed to the sun. While people with certain skin types can be more photosensitive than others and burn easily, some topical products, and both systemic and topical antibiotics and prescription drugs increase your photosensitivity as well. Staying out of the sun and using a high-quality sunscreen can help protect your skin. Check out these six causes of photosensitivity.



Acne Treatments

While we love our retinoids (check out the amazing benefits here!), they can cause sun sensitivity. They aren’t alone, as products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can, too. When using these products, limit exposure to the sun, and help keep your skin protected with the daily use of a sunscreen.

Citrus on Your Skin

Citrus juice on your skin mixed with sun exposure can actually result in phyto photodermatitis, which can result in a painful rash, irritation, blisters and second-degree burns. The acid can thin the layers of the skin, making it more susceptible to the sun. Margarita Burns are a real thing girls. Next time you’re mixing drinks for a patio bash, watch out for lemon and lime spills.

Vitamins and Herbs

Over-the-counter herbal medications are another probably phototoxic trigger. St. John’s Wort and Niacin, for example, can cause skin sensitivity.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Non-steroidals can definitely cause sun sensitivity, especially if they’re paired with other medications. Ibuprofen and naproxen, for example, can cause molecules to absorb the sun's UV rays and release them back into the skin, which damages and kills skin cells. Here’s a comprehensive list of medications to look out for.

Certain Perfumes and Colognes

Some ingredients in cologne, namely oil of bergamot, more the skin more prone to burning. This ingredient is becoming less common in products for this reason, but stay safe by applying sunscreen along with your cologne or perfume, as other essential oils and scents can cause skin sensitivity, as well.


Antibiotics can cause photosensitivity and even phototoxic reactions. Be on the lookout for sulfamethoxazole trimethoprim, tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones.

What to Do

Don’t let sun sensitivity keep you from necessary medications or treatments. We always recommend using a sunscreen every day. Even without any of the additional medicines and treatments, the sun can wear on the skin all year long, and even during short periods of time outside. We offer a variety of daily sunscreens for all skin types and even have sunscreens that are brushable and with a light tint. We absolutely love the EltaMD UV Clear and UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for sensitive skin types. A great way to touch-up your SPF on the go is by using the Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 50 which is a mineral powder brush that can sit on top of your skin and makeup rather than absorbing into the skin. For a full-body sunscreen, check out the EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47. Water-resistant and long-lasting, this sunscreen is perfect for outdoor activities.

For more information, call 913-317-9386 or schedule a complimentary consultation for personal skincare recommendations with one of our aestheticians.

Topics: sunscreen

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