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Medicines, cosmetics and photosensitizing plants to avoid in the sun


In summer, watch out for substances that can make the skin more sensitive to the effects of the sun!“recalls the magazine 60 Million consumers of the’French National Consumer Institute.

The magazine reports the case of a woman who had burned skin after applications of an exfoliant with fruit acids (glycolic acid).

The label said to apply it “preferably in the evening” and to “avoid exposure to the sun”.

The photosensitizing ingredients make the skin more sensitive to the sun: even with low exposure, behind glass, it can become irritated, burn, redden, reveal brown spots.»


The magazine mentions:

  • perfumes, which are recommended to be sprayed on clothes in summer;
  • retinol;
  • balsam of Peru;
  • citrus essential oils.

For other cosmetics, read the instructions carefully.


The magazine mentions the following drugs:

  • certain anti-acne ointments (benzoyl peroxide and vitamin A derivatives);
  • some antiallergics;
  • oral antibiotics;
  • antidepressants.

It is impossible to name them all, underlines the magazine. For each drug, refer to the package leaflet.

Risks of sun allergy

Sometimes, the drug, after exposure, causes an allergy to the sun, which is more troublesome because it is permanent.»

Pr Annick Barbaud, dermatologist, specifies:

  • “We think first and foremost: of ketoprofen but also of piroxicam (two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs);
  • and soothing post-mosquito bite creams containing isothipendyl hydrochloride”.

This is also the case for certain cosmetic ingredients.

  • “The main photo allergies are those to chemical sunscreens”, for example oxybenzone or octocrylene. “Fortunately, these filters, suspected of being endocrine disruptors and harmful to the environment, are less used.“, underlines the magazine.


Touching or ingesting certain plants can cause irritation, blisters and sunburn.» For example, for edible plants:

  • parsnip
  • lime
  • the FIG
  • the lemon
  • fennel
  • the celery

For inedible plants:

Last June, the magazine recalled that certain “natural” mosquito repellents may contain photosensitizing compounds (notably citrus essential oils) and advised that you read the repellent instructions carefully.

Psychomedia with source: 60 million consumers.
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