Drug Induced Photosensitivity. How To Protect Yourself From Skin Damage.

Drug Induced Photosensitivity
How to choose appropriate sun protection products and reduce the risk of skin damage from sensitivity to the sun caused by your medications.


Are You In Danger Of Skin Damage From Your Medications?

Most common prescription drugs that can cause photo-sensitivity to the sun. NOT an all inclusive list. Talk to your pharmacist to see if you are in danger of skin damage.


  • Azithromycin, Gentamicin, Griseofulvin, Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Metronidazole, Ritonavir, Bactrim, Doxycycline, Levofloxacin

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs)

  • Celecoxib, Ibuprofen, Indomethacin, Naproxen, Psoralens, Methoxsalen, Trioxsalen

Allergy Medications

  • Certrizine, Diphenhydramine

Blood Pressure Medications

  • ACE-Inhibitors (ie. lisinopril), Calcium channel blockers (ie. amlodipine), Hydralazine, Labetalol, Methyldopa, Minoxidil, Sotalol

Cholesterol Medications

  • Statins (ie. atorvastatin)

Diuretics “Water Pills”

  • Acetazolamide, Amiloride, Furosemide, Metolazone, Triamterene, Thiazides (ie. hydrochlorothiazides)


  • Bupropion, SSRI’s (ie. sertraline), Trazodone, Venlafaxine,

Seizure Medications

  • Carbamazepine, Gabapentin, Lamotrigine, Phenytoin

Topical Skin Care Products

  • Benzoyl peroxide, Gold salts, Isotretinoin, Quindine sulfate, Retinoids

Coal Tar Products

  • DHS Tar Gel Shampoo, Ionil T Plus Shampoo, Neutrogena T/Derm Body Oil, Neutrogena T/Gel Extra Strength


10 Tips For Better Skin Care & Protection From Prescription Drugs That Can Cause Photo-Sensitivity To The Sun.

  1. If you are prescribed a medication that could cause photosensitivity, use a sunscreen containing product while taking this medication.
  2. Protection from sun exposure can prevent sunburn or tanning, and photosensitivity reactions in susceptible persons. The primary long-term benefits of the appropriate use of sunscreens are to prevent skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.
  3. In addition to a sunscreen product, use protective clothing such as a hat with a 4-inch brim, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt.
  4. Sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of sunscreen effectiveness. The SPF is a ratio of how long a person will be protected against sunburn by the use of the sunscreen. As an example, if it normally takes you 1 hour to experience a sunburn when not using a sunscreen product, a sunscreen with a SPF 10 will provide protection for 10 times longer (10 hours).
  5. SPF protection is only achieved when the product is not washed or sweated off, an adequate layer is applied, and is reapplied based on product instructions.
  6. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen product that contains a combination of ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. Active ingredients that protect against UVA are: avobenzone or methyl anthranilate. Sunscreen active ingredients that protect against UVB are: padimate O, octocrylene, titanium dioxide, or one of the benzones-dioxybenzone, oxybenzone and sulisobenzone.
  7. A sunscreen that has at least as an SPF of 30 and is very water resistant will provide for the greatest protection.
  8. Apply approximately 1 ounce of sunscreen to each exposed area of the body, 15-30 minutes before sun exposure.
  9. Reapply sunscreen according to product label instructions which is about every 40 to 80 minutes.
  10. Stop using the sunscreen if redness, itching, rash or exaggerated sunburn continues.


What Ingredients To Look For When Choosing The Appropriate Sunblock Or SunScreen.

Protect yourself from prescription drug induced photo-sensitivity to the sun.

Sunscreen Lotion

  • avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone

Sensitive Skin-Sunscreen Lotion

  • titanium dioxide, zinc oxide

Continuous Spray Sunscreen

  • avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone

Sheer Oil-Free Sunscreen Stick

  • avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate



  • iStock Photos

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