What is Sunscreen Allergy?
This type of allergic reaction can occur during the day when you apply sunscreen to your skin to protect from potentially damaging UV rays. Sunscreen allergy symptoms can manifest itself in a few ways, including a rash on the site of exposure and tearing eyes if you put it on your face. This allergy is technically called contact allergic dermatitis to sunscreens and this can occur due to one of the many different ingredients that can be found in these beauty products.
What are the symptoms of sunscreen allergy?
The symptoms you will experience will be similar to allergic contact dermatitis due to any other ingredients in cosmetics. A sunscreen allergy rash may occur wherever on the body where it was applied almost immediately, or it could show itself several hours later. The rash may spread to parts of the body that have not been exposed to the sun-blocking components.
This reaction can also cause photocontact dermatitis, which creates a sun-induced pattern on the skin that was exposed to the sun. The areas of the body typically affected are the face, arms, top of the hands and the upper part of the chest and lower neck. Your V-line can commonly be affected as well.
Strangely, the eyelids and area underneath the chin do not seem to respond this way.
Which Ingredients Cause Sunscreen Allergy?
The specific ingredients that are causing the allergic reaction on your skin are the sun-blocking components in the sunblock. Usually, the ingredients that help protect against UVB rays are mineral oxides like zinc oxide. You may be allergic to this ingredient or another mineral oxide. They are listed at the top of each sunscreen-containing cosmetic product. There are numerous other ingredients that you could potentially be allergic to that block out the sun.
You could also be allergic to the specific fragrances or preservatives found in the product. Some people have sensitivities to these potentially allergenic ingredients and it may be difficult to manage because the FDA does not properly regulate fragrance ingredients.
Some loopholes allow cosmetic companies to simply list a chemical ingredient as “fragrance” if that is what the purpose of the component is. The actual name is a very ugly, complex chemistry name like “1-2-dimethylhexaphosphate.” It just seems prettier to say “fragrance” and diverts any skepticism from consumers. However, there are different types of perfumes that could affect some people and not others. The FDA does not allow us to accurately distinguish which perfumes and preservatives are used in cosmetic ingredients. The same can be said about flavoring food and drink items with “natural flavor.” In my opinion, this is a potentially dangerous blanket term that should not be used anymore.
Treatment for Sunblock Allergy Reactions
If you have found yourself suffering from an allergic skin rash from sunscreen, there are certain types of treatments that you can try.
First, you will definitely want to gently wash off the remaining residue of sunscreen off of your skin. You can just cleanse each area with cool water and mild soap. Cool water could do just fine, but the soap will help to really get it off. Now that the area is clean, it has access to absorb any treatments that you would like to apply. Also, definitely don’t apply the same sunscreen to your skin again.
After you cleanse off the residue of the allergic sunblock, try to protect the area of skin from damage by the sun. When your skin is damaged or exfoliated, it is highly vulnerable to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Protect your skin with clothing instead of chemicals for a short while as you begin to heal from the allergic skin reaction.
For sunscreen allergy treatment, apply an over-the-counter cortisone cream to your cleansed, dry skin as soon as possible. This type of cream will reduce the itching and pain caused by the allergic reaction. Your immune system is targetting histamine to the area to promote inflammation at the sight of exposure because it thinks it is battling a deadly skin invader. A natural antihistamine also works wonderful for soothing these types of allergic reactions on your skin. It will help relieve itching and swelling at the site of exposure.
Until your allergic reaction to the sunscreen heals, try to protect your skin further by avoiding lotions, sunscreens, fragrances and strong soaps. These can dramatically increase irritation at the site and hinder the process of natural healing of your skin. To assist in healing while relieving dryness and irritation, many suggest that fresh aloe vera gel works wonders for treatment. You could try to apply some in the morning before you start your day, but make sure to still cover it up for protection.
If your allergic reaction is too severe, definitely consider seeing a doctor about it instead. They will be able to make better recommendations to manage your unique condition.
Sunscreen Makes My Eyes Water, Am I Allergic?
This does not seem like it is technically an allergy, but a type of chemical conjunctivitis or pink eye. Your eyes are being exposed to an irritating substance, or the fumes of the sunscreen coming off of your skin after you applied it. It is still irritating your eyes, though, just like chlorine from pools does.
If this type of reaction happens in your eyes, you should switch your brand of sunscreen, preferably to something more natural. The sensation will subside with time, so remain assured that it will not be permanent.
Natural and Allergy-Free Sunscreen Alternatives
If you are finding that every chemical sunscreen product is giving you some weird skin or eye reaction, then a natural hypoallergenic alternative could work great for you.
I personally find that regular sunscreens smell very annoying and it always makes my skin itch when I apply it. I also get that weird eye-watering reaction if I put it on my face or underneath my eyes.
In my experience, natural sunblock is much more pleasant and effective than traditional sunscreens. They seem much safer as well, with no ingredients being proven in research to possibly react with UVB sun rays to create cancer-causing skin damage. The natural and allergy free sunscreen that I use and will always recommend is this one on Amazon. I really appreciate everything that this brand has to offer and I trust every one of their ingredients. This sunscreen can be used by children and adults alike.
If you have any questions about sunscreen allergy treatment or something you would like to add for yourself, then please leave me a comment with the form below!
Talk to you soon,