Be Aware of Skin Photosensitivity

These days, anyone with an interest in protecting their skin from damage and premature aging knows that a broad-spectrum sunscreen is in order. But many don’t consider the phenomenon of photosensitivity – a heightened sensitivity of the skin to sun’s harmful rays caused by certain medications, medical conditions, and even skincare treatments. Many of us may suffer from photosensitivity without even realizing it.

Medical conditions including lupus may increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun, requiring those with these disorders to take extra precautions. But many commonly used drugs can also cause skin problems in the sun, such as ibuprofen (Advil), antiobiotics including tetracycline, and even herbal treatments like St. John’s Wort.

Retinoids are a common skincare ingredient that cause photosensitivity (Retin A or tretinoin), so take extra steps to shield the skin when using these – use a sunblock on the skin, wear protective clothing, and seek shade whenever possible. Even certain sunscreen ingredients may cause photosensitivity in predisposed individuals – UVB absorber benzonphenones are the most common culprit. We recommend sunblocks that use physical, mineral based ingredients for maximum protection and safety –zinc or titanium dioxide are most common – and in lieu of chemical sunscreens.

Many age-fighting skin treatments can cause photosensitivity, including professionally administered chemical peels. For a more gentle approach that is effective with no sun sensitivity, we recommend the Actifirm Z-Peel. Unlike chemical peels that can leave your skin irritated and sensitive to the sun, the Z-Peel requires no down time – so you can be outdoors without worry of added sensitivity to the sun. That’s why so many skincare professionals call the mushroom enzyme-based Z-Peel a lunchtime or vacation peel – you can return to the office without embarrassing skin irritation or even hit the beach without worry of a sunburn (but always wear a broad spectrum sunblock).

Photosensitivity is something to be aware of if you want to preserve your youthful looking skin for the long haul. Always research any medication you are taking or skincare treatments you use to assure you are properly protecting your skin. And consider effective, natural skincare like the Z-Peel for effective enzyme exfoliation without damage to living tissue.

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