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Beware of Sunburn Boosters

Some medicines and skin care products can increase your sensitivity to the sun. Here’s how to avoid getting burned.
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Sun Sensitivity: Common Culprits continued...

Antifungals: Griseofulvin, including Grifulvin V, Fulvicin P/G, and Gris-PEG.

Anti-inflammatories: Prescription and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, including Celebrex, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).

Chemotherapy drugs: Imatinib and dasatinib.

Cosmetic treatments: Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser treatments, exfoliating facial scrubs.

Diabetes: Sulfonylureas including Diabinese (chlorpropamide) and glyburide (Micronase, DiaBeta, Glynase).

Diuretics: Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), used to treat high blood pressure. Lasix (furosemide). Combination drugs with HCTZ include Dyazide, Hyzaar, Maxide and Zestoretic.

Foods: Celery, citrus fruits (such as lime peel), dill, fennel, parsley, parsnips, and artificial sweeteners.

Heart medicines: Amiodarone (Cordarone), nifedipine (Procardia), quinidine (Quinaglute and Quinidex), and diltiazem (Cardize, Dilacor, and Tiazac).

Herbal remedies: Dong quai, St. John’s wort.

Perfumes: Lavendar, cedar, bergamot oil, sandalwood, rose bengal, musk, 6-methylcoumarine.

Psychiatric: Tricyclic antidepressants such as Norpramin and Tofranil; the antipsychotic medication chlorpromazine (Thorazine).

Skin care products: Check ingredients for alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), salicyclic acid, glycolic acids, Retin-A, and hydrocortisone.

Sunscreen: Benzophenones, dibenzoylmethane, oxybenzone, cyclohexanol, salicylates, cinnamate, and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid).

Sun Sensitivity: Protecting Your Skin

If you are sensitive to the sun, the best way to protect your skin is to avoid exposure, dermatologists say. That means no tanning booths and no lying out at the beach, even with sunscreen.

If it’s not possible to avoid sun exposure, use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15; choose a higher sun protection factor of 30 or more if you have a fair complexion or are more sun-sensitive. Make sure to apply at least 1 ounce for adequate coverage, put it on at least 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Keep in mind that some damaging ultraviolet rays can penetrate window glass, which means you could get a sunburn while driving or inside, if in direct sunlight.

Not sure which sunscreen to buy? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing one that offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. A sunscreen’s SPF rating measures effectiveness against UVB rays, which damage the outer layer of skin and cause sunburns. UVA rays penetrate the middle layer of your skin, and are the most likely to trigger drug-induced sun sensitivity reactions, says  Herschenfeld.

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