Skin Allergies to Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a popular item to keep in the car, beach bags, strollers, and diaper bags and is applied before spending time in the sun to avoid sunburn and to protect the skin from damaging rays that can lead to skin cancer. In the US, the temperature is heating up and people are buying various creams and sprays . The damaging effects of too much sun are known all too well. For those who are allergic to sunscreen though, deciding what to do about both the allergy and the sun can be a difficult decision. Sunscreen allergies can appear as a rash where the lotion or spray was applied. Some are lightly spotted, while other rashes are bright red and raised. Certain individuals who are extremely allergic will have heavy swelling. If the sunscreen was applied to the face or if it was a spray screen that was inhaled, trouble breathing might occur. It is best to get to a physician right away when any respiratory issues arise. Airways can continue to swell leading to serious breathing problems. For skin reactions to sunscreen, let’s look at ways to address the problems.

The best way to treat the allergy if it appears only as a rash and not dangerous swelling is to first wash the effected area with facial cleanser. Facial cleanser is created to clear pores and will get as much of the allergen off the skin as possible. A natural cleanser is probably safer, as some of the chemicals in sun screen can be found in face wash. There are some commercially available natural cleansers made from everything from coconuts to carrots and cucumbers that will do the trick quite nicely. Avoiding allergens is key in treating reactions. Once the body is already in fight mode, the reaction to another allergen could be heightened greatly. Applying a natural aloe will help to calm the allergic reaction and any sunburn that might have been acquired. Benadryl cream can help ease any redness or itchiness too. Taking an oral medication will offer relief, but it won’t work as quickly as a topical cream.

There are a lot of chemicals in sunscreen and it can be hard to tell which caused the reaction. Para-aminobenzoic acid and octocrylene are common allergy inducing ingredients. Buying a natural sunscreen without these ingredients can be a quick fix to a traditional sunscreen allergy. Other people find that it is the fragrances added to the sunscreen that they react negatively too. Simply purchasing a fragrance-free sunscreen can solve skin reactions previously caused by other products. If a mild reaction still occurs even after finding a hypoallergenic screen, then the allergy might actually be caused by the sun itself rather than the applied lotion. Testing at a physician’s office can indicate where the allergy is coming from. Over the counter allergy medications will calm symptoms while waiting for results from allergy testing.

If someone finds that they are allergic to sunscreens and/or the sun, there are still ways to enjoy the outdoors during sunny weather. Wearing floppy hats and protective clothing can allow an allergy sufferer to enjoy a day at the beach. Umbrellas and sun hats can be an easy way to stay out all day too. There are physical sun blockers, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, that keep sunlight from coming in contact with the skin. The thick white paste can be unappealing to some but it works to protect the skin underneath it. By avoiding direct contact with sunlight, sunscreen is not needed so an allergy does not matter. It might be a little more work to hit the pool with a skin allergy to sunscreen but it is definitely not impossible. If your kids suffer from this issue, let them know they can still get to swim, be with other kids and enjoy the outdoors, but must be aware of protecting their skin.

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