What Causes Sun Sensitivity or a Sun Allergy?

man on a raft with a sunburn due to a drug that made him have a sun allergy

Can you suddenly become sensitive to the sun?

Are you suddenly allergic to the sun? You may be putting something on your skin or taking a drug that make you get a "sun allergy".

There are many things that can cause your skin to suddenly become sensitive to sun. 

A sun allergy increases your changes of sun burn and sun damage to your skin.

Sun sensitivity results in sunburn and hyperpigmentation.

Find a list of medications that make you sensitive to sun in alphabetical order at the end of this blog.

Looking for the best skin care products and sunscreen to protect your skin?

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What skin care ingredients are photoallergens?

Some skin care ingredients become allergenic when exposed to sun.  These are called photoallergens.

Photoallergens can be used without any problems on the skin until you go in the sun.  Once you wear them in the sun, they can cause a skin allergy in susceptible people.

Sunscreens cause an allergic reaction when you go in the sun:

  • Avobenzone (Parsol)
  • Benzophenone
  • Benzophenone-3
  • Benzophenone-4
  • Ensulizole
  • Octinoxate
  • Octocrylene

Fragrances that are known photoallergens are:

  • Balsam of Peru
  • Citronellol
  • Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot Orange) Oil
  • Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Extract
  • Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil
  • Coumarin
  • Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde
  • Isoeugenol
  • Musk Ambrette
  • Musk ambrette
  • Musk tibetene
  • Nitromusks

Oils that are photoallergens:

  • Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil
  • Hydrogenated Peanut Oil

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Which medications increase sun sensitivity and make you more likely to sunburn?

These medications, when taken by mouth, make you sun sensitive.

Make sure you avoid sun and wear SPF when you are taking these medications.

Medications used to make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light to treat diseases like psoriasis and vitiligo:

  • methoxsalen
  • psoralens
  • trioxsalen

Other medications that can make skin sun sensitive:

Acne medications:

  • accutane
  • bactrim
  • doxycycline
  • isotretinoin
  • tetracycline
  • trimethoprim

Antibiotics:

  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • doxycycline
  • levofloxacin
  • ofloxacin
  • tetracycline
  • trimethoprim

Antifungal medications:

These antifungal medications make your skin more likely to sunburn:

  • flucytosine
  • griseofulvin
  • voricanozole

Antihistamines:

  • cetirizine
  • diphenhydramine
  • loratadine
  • promethazine
  • cyproheptadine

Blood pressure and heart medications:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Amiodarone
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diltiazem
  • Enalapril
  • Nifedipine
  • Quinidine
  • Valsartan

    Cholesterol lowering drugs (statins):

    • atorvastatin
    • lovastatin
    • pravastatin
    • simvastatin

    Diabetes medications:

    • glipizide (Glucotrol)
    •  glyburide

    Diuretics:

    • chlorothiazide
    • chlorthalidone
    • furosemide (Lasix)
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • triamterene

    Psychiatry drugs:

    • haloperidol
    •  olanzapine
    •  quetiapine
    • risperidone

    Antidepressants:

    • amitriptyline
    • doxepin
    • imipramine
    • nortriptyline

    Hormones:

    • estrogen

    Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS):

    • celecoxib
    • Ibuprofen (Advil)
    •  ketoprofen
    • naproxen
    • piroxicam (Feldene)

    Sulfonamides:

    • acetazolamide,
    • sulfadiazine
    •  sulfamethizole
    • sulfamethoxazole
    • sulfapyridine
    •  sulfasalazine
    •  sulfasoxazole

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    List of medications that make you more likely to sunburn in alphabetical order:

    • accutane
    • ACE inhibitors
    • acetazolamide,
    • Amiodarone
    • amitriptyline
    • atorvastatin
    • bactrim
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • celecoxib
    • cetirizine
    • chlorothiazide
    • chlorthalidone
    • ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
    • cyproheptadine
    • Diltiazem
    • diphenhydramine
    • doxepin
    • doxycycline
    • doxycycline
    • Enalapril
    • estrogen
    • flucytosine
    • furosemide (Lasix)
    • glipizide (Glucotrol)
    • glyburide
    • griseofulvin
    • haloperidol
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • Ibuprofen (Advil)
    • imipramine
    • isotretinoin
    • ketoprofen
    • levofloxacin
    • loratadine
    • lovastatin
    • methoxsalen
    • naproxen
    • Nifedipine
    • nortriptyline
    • ofloxacin
    • olanzapine
    • piroxicam (Feldene)
    • pravastatin
    • promethazine
    • psoralens
    • quetiapine
    • Quinidine
    • risperidone
    • simvastatin
    • sulfadiazine
    • sulfamethizole
    • sulfamethoxazole
    • sulfapyridine
    • sulfasalazine
    • sulfasoxazole
    • tetracycline
    • tetracycline
    • triamterene
    • trimethoprim
    • trimethoprim
    • trioxsalen
    • Valsartan
    • voricanozole

     

    What vitamins cause sun sensitivity?

    A deficiency of niacin causes a disease pellagra that causes sun sensitivity.

    Foods that cause phytophotodermatitis

    When you have juice or residue from these foods on your hands and touch your skin, you make your skin more sun sensitive in the areas you touch.  This is very common and is called phytophotodermatitis or "rash that occurs when plants touch the skin and skin is exposed to sun".

    Foods that make skin burn in the sun causing hyperpigmentation are:

      • carrots
      • celery
      • dill
      • figs
      • limes
      • parsley

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