The Lesser-Known Downsides of Sunscreen
It is a known fact that sunscreen is an essential part of your daily skin care routine. The role it plays in protecting against harmful UVB rays cannot be denied. However, its role in preventing premature aging, reducing the risk of skin cancer and development of melanoma has been questioned over the years.
Not all sunscreen lotions are created equal. Despite the benefits of sun protection, there are several potential downsides associated with the use of some sunscreens, as well as information that just isn't widely known by the general public.
1. Sunscreens may cause allergic reactions.
People who have sensitive skin are more prone to chemical sensitivities in sunscreen products. The tricky part about sunscreen allergy is that the time it takes for an allergic reaction to occur varies among individuals. The symptoms can appear within minutes or, in some cases, as late as two days after applying sunscreen.
One of the most common reactions to sunscreen is contact dermatitis, a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed or irritated from contact with an ingredient found in sunscreen or cosmetics with a sunscreen component. There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic.
Irritant contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that appears as a result of applying sunscreen to the skin. It is more common in people with a history of eczema or sensitive skin. Other symptoms include blisters, swelling, and scaling.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of contact dermatitis that results from exposure to an allergen found in sunscreens or cosmetics with SPF protection. People who experience allergic contact dermatitis are sensitive to certain chemicals found in sunscreens, including fragrances and preservatives.
Another type of skin reaction to sunscreen is photoallergic contact dermatitis. People with this skin condition develop a rash from sunscreens only when they are exposed to the sun after wearing the product. However, the condition is rare.
2. Sunscreens can exacerbate acne.
When selecting a sunscreen, it is important to look at the type of formula being used and its active ingredients. According to cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green, MD, some sunscreens contain chemicals that can trigger acne breakouts.
Dr. Green further explained that certain ingredients are comedogenic which clogs pores and may lead to the development of comedones or pustular acne. You can check the label on your sunscreen to determine if it is non-comedogenic. Additionally, look for formulations that don’t contain oil and labels that explicitly state “non-comedogenic.”
Applying sunscreen and failing to wash it off before bed can lead to acne, as it allows dirt, oils and bacteria to enter your pores. The accumulated sebum can create an environment that aggravates acne.
3. Sunscreens can dry your skin.
Some users of mineral sunscreens may notice dryness in the days after switching to a mineral product. Mineral sunscreens are named after the active ingredients they use to protect skin from UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two white minerals that provide broad-spectrum protection.
Despite the benefits of mineral sunscreens, they can also be drying. The culprit is often zinc oxide. Zinc oxide acts as a mild astringent. Astringents make skin less oily, causing it to contract and tighten. A sunscreen with a higher amount of zinc oxide will tend to dry out your skin more than a sunscreen with less zinc oxide.
How To Avoid The Side Effects Caused By Sunscreen
- Patch Test. Before using a sunscreen product, be sure to get a patch test done to check for an allergic reaction. If you do not have dry skin, you may opt for sunscreens with zinc oxide as it is less likely to cause hypersensitivity than other sun-blocking agents.
- Cleanse thoroughly. You should be sure to wash your face before going to sleep as there may be sunscreen residue left on your face. In addition, it is important to cleanse the skin before bedtime because dirt and other impurities can clog the pores and lead to breakouts the following day. To help prevent skin irritations caused by sunscreens, choose products with mild and clinically-proven formulas. CLn BodyWash leaves the skin looking smooth, clear, healthy and refreshed without drying it. Meanwhile, the CLn Facial Cleanser is specially formulated for sensitive skin prone to dryness, rashes, eczema, redness, and acne.
- Examine the label before buying your sunscreen. Choose oil-free and non-comedogenic sunscreen, if you have oily skin. A good sunscreen should have a lightweight, non-greasy formula that is easily absorbed by the skin.
Sunscreen is an essential part of your beauty routine. However, in order to get rid of the harmful effects caused by sunscreen, you must be well-informed about its ingredients and how they react with your skin. If you feel that you are still experiencing any issues, you should see a dermatologist and ask for help. They will be able to diagnose the problem and provide remedies accordingly.