It’s summertime, which means it’s time to break out the sunscreen. But what should you do if everyime you put on sunscreen, you become hopelessly ichy? That’s no fun at all.
So what’s going on? Why does sunscreen make you itch? Let’s find out!
Itchy Skin? You Might be Allergic To Your Sunscreen
If your sunscreen is making you itchy, there’s a decent chance that you’re allergic to one of the ingredients.
The most common allergen in sunscreen is oxybenzone, which is found in about 65% of chemical sunscreens. Oxybenzone works by absorbing ultraviolet light, but it can also act as a photoallergen, meaning that it causes an allergic reaction when exposed to sunlight.
Other common sunscreen allergens include:
If you’re allergic to one of these ingredients, you’ll usually develop a rash within a few minutes to a few hours after applying sunscreen. The rash may be itchy, red, or blistery, and it can occur anywhere on your body. You may even find that sunscreen burns your face or makes your face feel excessively hot, which can be additional signs that your skin isn’t interacting well with the sunscreen.
You don’t necessarily need to be allergic to an ingredient to have a reaction. If you have sensitive skin, many common sunscreens ingredients can cause redness and irritation.
Fragrances is another ingredient to look out for – many people can’t handle fragrances well, and scented sunscreens are often more likely to cause itching and acne outbreaks than non-scented sun lotions.
What Should I Do If My Sunscreen Makes Me Itch?
If you find that your sunscreen is making you itch, it’s best to shop for a different sunscreen. We recommend choosing a sunscreen for sensitive skin, as these formulas tend to be more gentle on the skin and are free of common allergens and irritants.
Look for a sunscreen that’s labeled “hypoallergenic,” or “non-comedogenic.” These sunscreens are less likely to cause an allergic reaction or irritation. You may also want to try a zinc-based mineral sunscreen, as these formulas are also usually less likely to cause irritation.
If you have sensitive skin, be sure to test the sunscreen on a small area of your skin before applying it to your whole body. This will help you determine if you’re allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.
My Skin Is Itchy, But I Just Got Burned
If you’re experiencing itchy skin after prolonged time spent in the sun, it’s also possible that your sunburn is what’s irritating you. If your skin is itching due to a sunburn, and you’ve already done everything you can to help the sunburn heal faster, then coconut oil can help ease some of that residual itchiness.
Allergic reactions or skin sensitivities to sunscreen are more common than many people realize. If you find that your sunscreen is making you itch, it’s best to switch to a different sunscreen formula – ideally one that uses mineral ingredients or is specifically designed for sensitive skin.
Have you ever had to deal with itchiness associated with a sunscreen? What did you do? Let us know in the comments below!
Other FAQ About Itchiness and Sunscreen
why does sunscreen give me a rash?
If you find that your sunscreen is making you itch or giving you a rash, there’s a decent chance that you’re allergic or intolerant to one of the ingredients – likely oxybenzone or avobenzone. Opt for a mineral or sensitive skin formula instead.