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Can Sunblock Cause Skin Rashes; And If Yes, Then How To Prevent It?

Topic Overview

Come summertime and all sorts of remedies are used to prevent the body from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Using sunscreen or sunblock is one such way of protecting the skin in summers. This is believed to be the first line of defense against the sun. Exposing the skin to direct sunlight in the summers is the primary cause of skin cancer and heat rashes[1].

However, a pertinent question that arises in most people is that what happens if the sunscreen or sunblock they are using results in rash and other allergy symptoms. Can this really happen is what people ask[1].

Can Sunblock Cause Skin Rashes?

In fact, many dermatologists have stated that they come across many patients who complain of rashes after putting on sunscreen or sunblock. This is seen mostly in people who are sensitive to various creams and lotions. This article gives a brief overview about whether sunblock can cause a skin rash and how to prevent it[1].

Can Sunblock Cause Skin Rashes and if Yes Then How To Prevent It?

The answer to this question is YES, certain sunblocks can cause skin rashes. The rashes caused by a sunblock are most characteristic of a contact dermatitis with associated symptoms of itching, inflammation and swelling around the areas where the sunblock was applied[1].

To check whether a particular brand of sunblock is the causative agent for the rashes, the individual will have to undergo a patch test for detecting sensitivity. Sunblock functions by blocking the UV rays of the sun when an individual is out in the sun in the summer[1].

Sunblock have chemicals including zinc oxide and benzophenones, which absorb the UV rays of the sun. Generally, individuals are allergic to the ingredients present in the sunblock, which cause the rashes. Thus, it cannot be said for sure that if an individual is allergic to one particular brand of a sunblock, then he or she will have the same reaction to another brand[1].

Even the American Academy of Dermatology agrees that brands are not a factor in selecting sunblock as long as they do not cause any reactions and fulfill the purpose they are used for. People with a history of skin disorders like eczema are increasingly vulnerable to having skin rashes from sunblock than the normal population[1].

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends adequate skin care during the summer months to reduce the risk of skin rashes from Sunblock. The best way to prevent skin rashes from sunblock is to use approximately one ounce of sunblock on the body and repeating it every two hours, especially before going out in the sun[1].

It is also advisable to not venture out in the sun between 10 o’clock in the morning till 4 o’clock in the evening to prevent overexposure to direct sunlight. Another way to prevent skin rashes is to wear light colored clothing and avoiding tight fitting fabrics[1].


In conclusion, it is difficult to determine as to what causes skin rashes when putting on sunblock since there are many ingredients at play here. This is precisely the reason why many physicians recommend performing a patch or usage test before applying the sunblock all over the body[1].

In a usage test, the individual applies a little bit of sunblock on a particular area for a few days and observe eruptions of any rashes on that area. If none are seen, then the Sunblock can be safely used all over the body[1].

This test will show if there is any skin sensitivity, but it may not necessarily show whether the individual is allergic to a particular sunblock. Thus, it is advised that if an individual has a known sensitivity to certain sunblock, then to avoid using it and consult a physician before beginning to use a new one to avoid any skin rashes during the summer months caused by a Sunblock[1].


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 9, 2022

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