The Sun and Cosmetics; Not Always a Good Combination!
Lately I have received many questions about sun allergies. Even yesterday a beauty journalist asked, why it is that sun allergies are more common now than a few years ago. I have my suspicions about this! Most probably this is due to a combination of sun and cosmetics.
Do I have a sun allergy?
With a sun allergy your body sees sunlight as the enemy and produces antibodies. Through this you get symptoms such as itching, bumps, and blisters. Actually the same as with a cosmetic allergy. There are different types of sun allergy, but I won’t go into them now.
Or maybe not a sun allergy…
Beyond the real sun allergy there are also skin reactions brought about if you use products containing chemicals which react with sunlight. These are so called phototoxic or photosensitive chemicals. And don’t be fooled; there are very many of these around! From the 9-12 products that we, on average, use daily, the chance that one of these contains such an ingredient is very high. So it’s the combination of sun and cosmetics which is the problem.
Just check first
Have you been outside for the day and are suffering from a burning sensation, bumps, blisters or red patches, then have a thorough check through the contents of your toilet bag. The main causes of light sensitivity are:
• plant extracts/oils such as citrus, orange, bergamot, mandarin, grapefruit, lime, lavender, rosemary, fig, angelica, st. john’s wort, tea tree and ginger
• sun protection filters (amazingly!) such as Oxybenzone
These substances don’t only cause an adverse skin reaction. They can, through long term use, in combination with sun also cause the skin to age and pigmentation. Have you ever noticed that a lot of men have pigment spots on their jaw line? Exactly, that indeed comes from using strongly perfumed aftershave!
Do you want to return after the Easter break with that holiday look? Then don’t go in the sun with perfumed products, avoid products with the above citrus or herb type ingredients, choose a good sun protection filter and limit your make-up!
Enjoy your break,
Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology