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Sunburn Easily? It Might be Your Medications

Image Source: Harry Knight/Unsplash

We’re all aware that most medications can have a variety of side effects, but did you know that one of them can be an increased sensitivity to the sun? There are a multitude of medications that can increase your risk of sunburn or even cause photosensitivity. Summer is here, so be sure you’re prepared to stay safe in the sun!

How can a medication increase your sensitivity to the sun?1

Photosensitivity is a reaction set off by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and can result in two different reactions.

  1. Phototoxic Reaction: Occurs when UV radiation reacts with a drug to form compounds that damage the skin.

  2. Results: Sunburn-like symptoms

  3. Photoallergic Reaction: This is less common, but usually happens when UV light changes a substance applied to the skin, causing an immune response.

  4. Results: Bumps, hives, blisters, or red blotches

What are some common drugs that cause sunburns?

  1. Antibiotics

  2. Antiarrhythmics (cardiac drugs)

  3. Diuretics (used to treat hypertension, heart failure or edema)

  4. NSAID (Ibuprofen or naproxen)

  5. Acne Medications

For a detailed list, click here

How to prevent sun sensitivity2

  1. Check Your Meds: Check prescription medications to see if sun sensitivity is listed as a side effect.

  2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water!

  3. Cover Up: Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing or try to stay in the shade as much as you can!


Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742



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