Photosensitivity: are you at Risk?
- Posted on: Aug 15 2016
Excess of sun exposure is something that all people should avoid. Because we have gained awareness regarding the potential dangers of UV damage, including premature aging and skin cancer, most people apply higher-SPF sunscreen The moment they arrive at their local pool or the beach. Individuals who are well aware of their own unique reaction to the sun may step up their game with a broad-brimmed hat or appropriate clothing. Did you know, though, that you may be putting yourself at risk for sun damage without even knowing it? Here, we’re going to take a look at photosensitivity and what may cause it.
What is photosensitivity?
This skin condition technically means that a sensitivity to light has developed. There are several potential causes for this, including certain autoimmune diseases. There are also heading risks for photosensitivity related to a chemical reaction between a certain substance and UV light. Should photosensitivity occur, an individual may experience a bad sunburn after a short time in the sun. Areas of inflammation and redness may also irrupt on the skin, and, in some cases, blisters or skin discoloration may occur.
To decrease the risk for these unpleasant symptoms, it pays to be mindful about your pre-sun activities. Mainly, avoiding potential triggers, such as:
- Skincare. We purchase skin care products to help us improve certain aspects about our skin. Certain key ingredients that may accomplish this goal can also make you more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. Avoid applying products with benzoyl peroxide and before heading out for a day of fun in the sun. Other substances to avoid include alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid, and retinoic acid.
- Medication. It may sound like a harmless idea to pop a few ibuprofen , or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug before that hike in the mountains. However, this could lead to photosensitivity that leaves you with skin redness, and possibly even blisters. If you are taking prescription medication such as anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, or certain antibiotics, speak with your doctor regarding the potential for photosensitivity.
- Essential oils. One of the popular trends today is the use of essential oils. While there are numerous benefits to be had, there are certain oils that should be avoided in the 12 hours before UV exposure. These include lemon, lavender, lime, and bergamot.
Photosensitivity not only creates the potential for uncomfortable sunburn, but it can also pave the way for phototoxicity or photo allergy. Give us a call! We are happy to talk with you about the ways you may protect your skin.