When your skin soaks up too much ultraviolet radiation, whether from exposure to the sun or tanning beds, an inflammatory reaction can occur due to cellular damage that causes the skin to become red, swollen, and sore as the body attempts to heal the damage. While people with a fair complexion and light hair are more likely to be sunburned because they have less melanin to protect their skin against the sun’s rays, anyone is at risk of skin damage. (Remember that tans are also a sign that your skin has been damaged.) Sunburns increase your risk of developing skin cancer, in addition to causing premature signs of aging to appear, so it’s always best to wear sunscreen and do as much as you can to protect your skin from exposure. Once summer is over, many patients come to us for skin checks, as well as light and laser treatments at our Los Angeles-based practice to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles caused by sun damage.
One of the most commonly overlooked elements of sun protection is the fact that the supplements we take and the products we use on our skin can also increase our risk of sun damage. You can take steps to reduce such sun damage in the first place, such as monitoring the types of products you’re using on your skin before exposure to sunlight. Here are some common skin products, herbal remedies, and medications that are known to cause sun sensitivity, particularly if you aren’t also wearing sunscreen.
Retinols and Other Actives
Be careful about exposing your skin to sunlight after using acids or retinols. It’s better to use products that contain retinol at night and use sunscreen after applying acids on your face or wait at least a day before heavy sun exposure.
One of the side effects of certain oral medications like allergy treatments, acne medications, heart medications, and some pain relievers such as Aleve, is increased sun sensitivity.
Essential Oils and Fragrances
Perfumes containing scents such as lavender, cedar, rosemary, bergamot, and sandalwood can cause skin irritation and hyperpigmentation when you’re exposed to sunlight, as can citrus oils and other oils.
If you want to learn more about how to avoid sunburn and reduce skin damage, contact our Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills team for more tips. Fill out a contact form or call us at 310-246-0495 to request a consultation.Written by Dr. Derek Jones
Dr. Derek Jones is a renowned Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area dermatologist practicing in cosmetic and general dermatology.