Acne Medications That Cause Photosensitivity

Which Acne Medications Make Your Skin More Sensitive to the Sun?

Bright sunlight
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Can acne treatments make my skin more sensitive to the sun?  The answer is yes!

Photosensitivity defined.

Photosensitvity is the technical term for increased sensitivity of the skin to UV light. Skin that is photosensitive is more susceptible to the sun's rays than it normally is.

Photosensitized skin will burn, and possibly blister, when exposed to the sun or other UV rays (including tanning beds and booths).

Long term, photosensitivity can increase the risk of skin cancer. Photosensitivity can be caused by

Photosensitivity (also called sun sensitivity) can be caused by a variety of different topical and oral medications, perfumes, or by certain diseases.medications,

Which acne medications make you more sensitive to the sun?

Many acne medications make the list.  While using acne medications that cause photosensitivity your skin is more likely to burn (even if you typically don't).  And those burns can be more severe -- think blistering and peeling. 

Does your acne medication cause sun sensitivity?  It's important to know, so that you can adequately protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays.

When it comes to acne medications, some of the worst offenders are:

Remember, when you're using these medications, you'll be more susceptible to sun burn and sun damage.

But acne medications aren't the only culprits that cause photosensitivity.  Certain acne treatment procedures can also increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. This includes microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and some laser treatments.

Here's what you can do to protect your skin if you're using one of these medications.

Protecting your skin from the sun's rays is always important, but it becomes even more so when your acne treatments cause photosensitivity.  

The easiest thing you can do to protect your skin from the sun is to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, with an SPF of at least 15, every single day.  Choose a brand that is labeled oil-free and noncomdogenic or non-acnegenic, so it won't trigger more breakouts.

Applying your sunscreen correctly will ensure you get the protection you need.  Put on your medications first, and wait for 20 minutes or so to allow the treatment to dry completely. You can then apply your sunscreen over the top.

The sun also increases your risk of skin cancer and causes premature aging, so using sunscreen every day is a skin-healthy habit even if your acne treatment doesn't make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  It's a healthy habit for all skin types, really.

While using an acne medication that causes photosensitvity, it's a good idea to try to stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially during midday when the sun's rays are at their fiercest. If you're going to be spending the day outdoors at the park, by the lake, or at the beach, make sure you reapply your sunscreen often.  You might also want to wear a wide brimmed hat (at least 4 inches wide) for added protection.

And tanning beds and booths are off-limits too, during the entire time you're using the medication. Contrary to what the nice lady at the tanning salon will tell you, tanning beds are just as damaging as the sun.

With a bit of care, you can use your acne medications and keep your skin sun safe too.

Next steps:

How To Choose a Facial Sunscreen That Won't Break You Out

Staying Sun Safe when You Have Acne-Prone Skin

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