Sunscreen is just like breakfast - the most important part of the day that should not be skipped! Slathering on sunscreen should be a reflex every day, reaching out for it like you mean it. However, just like some ingredients in your cereal bowl, you could be allergic to certain components in your sunscreen. Today, we explore if it's plausible for one to have adverse reactions to the protector of your skin and what you can do to mitigate its effects.
What is a sunscreen allergy?
It is indeed possible for one to be allergic to sunscreen, although rare and uncommon. Here is why it happens:
- Sensitive skin - If you are someone who already has sensitive skin, some of the ingredients in your sunscreen may further exacerbate the reaction due to already inflamed, dry and irritated skin. These ingredients can also be a trigger for increasing sensitivity. This is however, not so much a real allergy then it is a magnified effect on sensitive, inflamed skin.
- Contact allergy - This refers to a true allergy to sunscreen that triggers an immunologic reaction in the body such as blistering.
- Photo contact allergy - Some ingredients in your sunscreen, when exposed to sunlight, can trigger an allergic reaction (an irony!). For some individuals, where there is an interaction between an offending ingredient in the sunscreen and UV light, it can lead to a skin reaction. The reaction can also be due to a reaction because of added fragrances, synthetic chemicals and preservatives as well.
Spot the signs
A sunscreen allergy can appear in the form of hives as well as itchy skin accompanied with rashes.
If you have sensitive skin, depending on your skin condition that day, you may experience pink and inflamed skin upon application, or a few hours later. A contact allergy on the other hand, will always be itchy, red and inflamed, with increased itching after immediate application of the product.
Individuals with existing atopic conditions such as eczema may be more sensitive and at risk to allergies to chemical sunscreen ingredients.
People experiencing asthma and hay fever would also have higher risks.
Ingredients to avoid and what to go for
You could be allergic to any ingredients in the product but pay closer attention to the more common triggers such as:
Instead, opt for sunscreens that are ideally physical instead of chemical ones, to decrease the amount of chemicals and active ingredients you are putting onto your skin. Look out for ingredients such as:
- Zinc Oxide
If you are currently on the hunt for a good sunscreen that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, Morning Glow is a physical sunscreen that is lightweight and has anti-inflammatory ingredients like niacinamide that is tolerable for many sensitive skin types!
It also contains zinc oxide, a physical barrier that protects you against harmful UV rays and it is suitable even for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin!