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6 Side Effects Of Sunscreen You Should Know About Along With Tips To Combat Them

The importance of sunscreen for your skin health has been stressed enough. It provides a protective shield to your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. It is highly advised not to step out of the house without applying sunscreen. And we understand why. Sunscreens not only protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun but also prevent skin aging and sunburns[1]. But, is it really the perfect solution for all your skin woes? Does sunscreen have side effects? Unfortunately, it does.

Sunscreens, if used without a thought, can harm your skin. Chemicals present in sunscreens are not really skin-friendly. Today, we will share with you the harmful effects of sunscreen that you must know.

Side Effects Of Sunscreen


It might cause an allergic reaction

The chemicals present in sunscreen can cause an allergic reaction in the skin. Redness, itching, swelling and rashes are the tell-all signs that you are allergic to your sunscreen. It can also make your skin sensitive. An ingredient that is commonly used in sunscreens and that can cause a high rate of allergic reactions in your skin is PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid)[2]. The cause of the reaction can also be certain preservatives and fragrances used in the sunscreen. Especially if you have sensitive skin you need to check the ingredients of the sunscreen and check if it contains any that can irritate your skin.

Look for sunscreens that are labelled ‘hypoallergenic'. You can also do a 24-hour patch test to be on the safer side.


It can worsen your acne

Choosing the wrong type of sunscreen can be harmful to your skin. If you are suffering from acne, sunscreen can worsen your condition. A greasy and oil-based sunscreen can do that. Certain chemicals present in sunscreen can also irritate your skin and cause acne, redness, itching and swelling.

To prevent that, use a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type. Non-greasy and non-comedogenic sunscreens should be your preference. Also, do not use the sunscreens meant for the body on your face. These have a thicker consistency and can block your pores to cause breakouts.


It can cause pain in hairy parts of your body

Sunscreen can irritate the more hairy parts of your body. The itchiness and redness can lead to painful bumps and pus-filled hair follicles. A comedogenic sunscreen that can irritate your hair follicles is the reason for that. Sunscreens are available in the market in various textures- gel, cream, lotion spray and ointments. Of these, gel sunscreens cause the least amount of harm and should be preferred over other textures.

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It can irritate your eyes

Sunscreen is not supposed to be used in the delicate areas around your eyes. If the sunscreen gets into your eyes, it can irritate the eyes and cause pain and sensitivity to light. So, avoid putting the sunscreen under or around your eyes. If by mistakes it gets into your eyes, wash it off immediately.


Risk of breast cancer

Sunscreen works to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun rays. But, there are certain chemicals present in the sunscreen can pose the risk of cancer. Regular usage of sunscreen can affect the oestrogen levels in the body and thus can lead to breast cancer.

Additionally, it has been found that an ingredient present in sunscreens- retinyl palmitate (the combination of retinol and palmitic acid)- can produce free radicals that are harmful to the skin and cause DNA damage.


It is not sensitive skin-friendly

Sensitive skin is marked by, well, its sensitivity. It reacts easily with various products. And sunscreen can be a red flag for your sensitive skin. The ingredients in sunscreen are often heavy and harmful on the skin, especially on sensitive skin. It can cause dryness, itching, swelling and irritation.

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Tips To Combat These Side Effects

To combat these side-effects of the sunscreen, these are some tips that will help.

  • Always do a patch test before you buy a sunscreen, especially those who have sensitive skin.
  • If the sunscreen irritates your skin, wash it off immediately.
  • Be very careful while choosing a sunscreen for the children. Their skin can get affected easily from the chemicals used in the sunscreen.
  • If you have a lip balm with SPF, limit its usage to your lips only.
  • Sunscreen, no matter the SPF, can only last for 2 hours. You need to re-apply the sunscreen throughout the day.
  • Opt for a sunscreen with non-comedogenic ingredients.
  • Do not use the sunscreen lotion made for your body on your face.
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