You used to be able to sit in the sun for a few minutes without a problem, but ever since you started taking a new medication, unprotected sun exposure causes you to develop a rash that looks like a sunburn. If this sounds like you, you may be experiencing a drug-induced sun allergy, also known as chemical photosensitivity.
Drugs used to treat bacterial infections, fluid retention, acne, and irregular heartbeat, as well as oral contraceptives and over-the-counter painkillers can cause your skin to become more sensitive to the sun. If you read our previous post on sun allergies, you’ll know that drugs or chemicals can cause phototoxic and photoallergic reactions.here to see if your drug is known to cause sun allergy. If your drug-related sun allergy interferes with your day-to-day life, talk to your physician to see if there’s another drug you can take that will treat your condition without causing photosensitivity. Otherwise, try your best to protect your skin from the sun when you go outdoors. You can rely on the Sun Index wearable to let you know what type(s) of sun protection are required for your unique situation to minimize your risk of developing a reaction.
- Zhang, A. Y. and Elmets, C. A. (2016). Drug-Induced Photosensitivity. Retrieved August 8, 2016
- MacNeal, R. J. (2014). Photosensitivity. Retrieved August 8, 2016