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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunscreen Allergies

In 2008 Natural Health News reported on sunscreen as unsafe and ineffective. Earlier than this, along with an expert on the subject, we tackled mis-information being promoted by Dr Oz's "Real Age".  Over the years we have continued to cover this story and the associated problems caused by lack of exposure to the sun, sans sunscreen.

Now a new issue seems to be having an impact on you as you use these products.

There are options, and those natural approaches are covered in related stories here at Natural Health News.

Are You Allergic to Sunscreen?

By Krisha McCoy, MS, Medically reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD

As the weather heats up and you spend more time outdoors, it’s essential to slap on sunscreen – and it could even save your life. A recent study from Australia – which has some of the hightest rates of skin cancer in the world – found that applying sunscreen daily reduced the risk of melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer, by an amazing 50 percent.

But for some people, applying certain types of sunscreen can actually cause a skin allergy. Sunscreen allergies are fairly uncommon, however, so how can you be sure that your skin irritation is due to sunscreen and not something else?

Detecting a Sunscreen Allergy

Sunscreens work because they contain chemicals that absorb harmful ultraviolet radiation, and keep them from penetrating your skin. Some of these chemicals, including oxybenzone, 4-isopropyl-dibenzoylmethane, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), esters, avobenzone, and cinnamates, have been known to cause an allergic reaction in certain people.

According to Anna Feldweg, MD, a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician in allergy and immunology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, there are two ways a sunscreen allergy generally appears: as a contact allergy or contact photoallergy.

With contact allergies, Dr. Feldweg explains, "you get a rash where the product is applied." But, in contact photoallergy, the reaction is due to an interaction between sunscreen chemicals and sunlight, "so you get the rash where the sunscreen was applied but only once the skin has been exposed to the sun," she notes. These two conditions may be hard to tell apart, although the difference is important in determining how to test for a sunscreen allergy.

A sunscreen allergy may appear when you first start using sunscreen, or it can develop after years of sunscreen use. You might experience an allergic reaction immediately, or up to several days after you apply the sunscreen. Some signs include:

  • Red skin
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Blisters that are filled with fluid

These symptoms will appear in the areas where you applied the sunscreen to your body, and, in the case of a photoallergy, where your skin was also exposed to sunlight.

Dealing With a Sunscreen Allergy

If you suspect a sunscreen allergy, you should see a dermatologist or an allergist, who can diagnose and treat your condition. Your doctor can perform a patch test to confirm whether you are allergic to specific chemicals that are present in sunscreen. For a contact allergy, the patch test probably will be done without ultraviolet light first; a photoallergy patch test will be performed in combination with exposure to ultraviolet light. Patch testing can help your doctor diagnose exactly which chemicals you are allergic to, so you can avoid those chemicals.

For people with a sunscreen allergy, there are alternatives to traditional sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Sun protection is an important part of protecting the health of your skin, so if you are allergic to a chemical in sunscreen, your doctor can help you find a sunscreen that doesn't contain that chemical. Sunscreens known as physical sunscreens contain powdered versions of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which reflect light, keeping it from penetrating your skin. Physical sunscreens are not known to cause allergic reactions.

An allergy to sunscreens does not have to keep you from having fun in the sun. Talk with your doctor to find out which sunscreens can work for you.

Source, Last Updated: 05/04/2011

From Natural Health News
Oct 13, 2008
Air pollution, sunscreen and clothing all limit the amount of vitamin D the body can synthesize from sunlight. The group suggests non-breast-fed infants and older children who are drinking less than one quart (liter) of vitamin ...
Jul 05, 2008
Only 16% of sunscreens on the market are both safe and effective, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy and research organization. Of 783 products analyzed, only 125 blocked both UVA and UVB
Nov 16, 2010
Yet thanks to sunscreen and workaholic (or TV-aholic) habits, most people don't make enough. How much do you need? The Institute of Medicine is reassessing that right now; most experts expect a big boost from the current levels (200 to ...
Sep 12, 2010
It's affecting middle-class children because they're overprotecting with sunscreen and not going out as much. SPF is also increasingly in cosmetics used by young women. “The more dramatic cases tend to be in people who wear traditional ...
Oct 01, 2010
Pomegranate Enhances sunscreen protection Lowers "bad" cholesterol Fights prostate cancer. Pumpkin Protects joints against polyarthritis Lowers lung and prostate cancer risk Reduces inflammation. Raspberries Inhibit growth of oral, . ...
Jan 31, 2009
While in the sun, it's important to cover the face but okay to expose the arms and legs for 10 minutes or so without sunscreen, he adds. "If you're going to be out in the sun for five, ten or 15 minutes, don't be paranoid." ...
May 19, 2008
Today the BIG NEWS is about Sunscreen. Numerous problems remain even after many years of known issues with the chemical ingredients in these products. Some products listed as safe in the EWG report contain titanium dioxide, ...
Aug 16, 2010
But cloud cover, sunscreen, skin pigmentation and even northern latitudes can reduce the penetration of ultraviolet-B rays. And with sedentary lifestyles and concerns about skin cancer, many people never get enough sun to provide ...
Apr 22, 2010
Pomegranate Enhances sunscreen protection Lowers "bad" cholesterol Fights prostate cancer. Pumpkin Protects joints against polyarthritis Lowers lung and prostate cancer risk Reduces inflammation. Raspberries Inhibit growth of oral, ...
Dec 17, 2010
The experts now say it is fine to go outside in strong sun in the middle of the day, as long as you cover up or apply sunscreen before your skin goes red. 'Too negative'. A good diet and sensible sun exposure will be adequate for most 
Natural Health News: Frequently Copied, Never Duplicated! 

GILSUM, N.H.–Just as many consumers are venturing outside for some summertime fun, Katie Schwerin, co-founder of the W.S. Badger Co., offered several tips to choosing a safe sunscreen in a recent statement.
“The best protection from the sun is to stay out of it or cover up with a good hat and long sleeve shirt," she said. “But for the sun lovers among us, using a mineral sunscreen with zinc, not chemicals, is the safest and most effective way to go because these minerals stay on the surface of the skin and are not absorbed, releasing free radicals into your body."
Schwerin continued, “Sunscreen users should be careful not to have a false sense of security and overdo, over expose or under protect themselves."
She also said it’s important to make sure it’s really natural by checking to see if it has the Natural Products Association's (NPA’s) Certified Natural seal or an NSF/ANSI 305 designation that certifies organic ingredient content.
Next, she suggested consumers make sure the sunscreen includes organic plant oils, butters and waxes, which provide a safe moisturizing base to help protect skin from water, wind, sand and sun while keeping it hydrated.
Other hidden dangers from conventional sunscreen are their impact on the environment and our natural surroundings, she said. If your sunscreen isn't biodegradable, its chemicals can wash off the body and leech into lakes, oceans and rivers causing potential damage and harm. “They can even damage delicate coral reefs and marine life," added Schwerin.
W.S. Badger makes a full line of safe, effective, natural, mineral-based, certified organic sunscreens. The Badger sunscreen line includes SPF30+ Lightly Scented, SPF30+ Unscented, SPF30+ Baby Sunscreen, SPF30+ Sunscreen and Anti-Bug Repellent, SPF30+ All-Season Face Stick, SPF15 Lightly Scented, and SPF15 Unscented Lip Balm Stick. The full line uses uncoated, non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection in a base of certified organic ingredients. W.S. Badger sunscreens are recommended and score a number one for safety and effectiveness by the Environmental Working Group as sunburn protection.


inder said...

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Anonymous said...

I am probably the only one on the planet that is allergic to titanium dioxide. Just to let you know, it can happen. I had a rash so bad I had to take a round of steroids.