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Why You're Allergic to Sunscreen

Greater use of sunscreen has caused an increase in contact allergy and photocontact allergy to sun protection products. New research investigated why.

Chemicals in sunscreen passes through your skin into your body. Many of these chemicals actually break down in the presence of sunlight. The research looked at what can happen to chemical sun protection agents when exposed to UV rays, and how the degradation products that form affect human skin.

The researchers found that arylglyoxales, one of the degradation products, turned out to be highly allergenic. This could explain why some people are allergic to creams that contain dibenzoylmethanes, a UVA-absorbing substance.

According to Science Daily:

“This has made for a better understanding of the mechanism behind photocontact allergy, which could lead to a product that does not cause allergy, and could determine which sun creams people are most likely to be sensitive to.”

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