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Top | Wear a Hat & Sunblock | Dress to Protect | Avoid Peak hours in the Sun | Check the daily UV Index | Avoid Tanning Booths | Chemical Tanning | Sun Sensitivity | Cancer Protection ABC's | Natural Defense

In 1988, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that 19 workers at a supermarket in Oregon developed an unusual brown rash on their hands and arms.* The reason? Celery was on sale at the store.
If that doesn’t make sense, consider that celery (and also limes and parsnips) contains chemicals called furocoumarins. Furocoumarins are photosensitizers, which means that they change chemically when they are exposed to UV rays. Once altered, they can cause skin burns, rashes, and swelling. In more serious cases, blistering, blood vessel damage, premature skin aging, allergic reactions, and cataracts may result. Furocoumarins may even contribute to skin cancer. In this case, supermarket workers handled large amounts of celery and then went out into the sun, triggering the reaction. (Similar reactions have been reported in beachside bartenders who handle limes in the sun and in field workers who must harvest parsnips on sunny days.)
And photosensitizers aren’t limited to produce. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause photoreactions, regardless of whether they’re taken internally or applied to the skin. Common photosensitizers include antihistamines, some anti­biotics such as tetracyclines, oral contraceptives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), sulfa drugs, and tricyclic antidepressants see list on the following page). In addition, some ingredients in deodorants, antibacterial soaps, mothballs, and artificial sweeteners can also cause reactions. 
Before you go out into the sun, ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of the medications you’ve been taking have photoreactive effects.

Check medication labels, as well: Photosensitivity is listed as a s effect on most products that are potential problems. No one is sure whether using sunscreen or sunblock will protect against a react since most allow some UV radiation to reach the skin. Keep in mi that not everyone who uses a photosensitive product will have a reaction, though those with fair skin are more likely to have problems you know you’re going to be handling a photoreactive substance ( example, limes or celery) wear gloves.
If you do have a reaction, see your practitioner for advice. Once you have suffered one photosensitive outbreak, you’re more likely have another. In addition, your vulnerability to the sun may last long after you’ve stopped handling a photoreactive substance or taking offending medication. 


Here’s a quick list from the FDA of some drugs that may cause photosensitivity:

Brand Name   |   Generic Name |  Therapeutic Class

Motrin ibuprofen NSAID, antiarthritic
Crystodigin digitoxin antiarrhythmic
Sinequan doxepin antidepressant
Cordarone amiodarone antiarrhythmic
Bactrim trimethoprim antibiotic
Diabinese chlorpropamide antidiabetic (oral)
Feldene piroxicam NSAID, antiarthriti
Vibramycin doxycycline antibiotic
Phenergan promethazine antihistamine




Top | Wear a Hat & Sunblock | Dress to Protect | Avoid Peak hours in the Sun | Check the daily UV Index | Avoid Tanning Booths | Chemical Tanning | Sun Sensitivity | Cancer Protection ABC's | Natural Defense

Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News  


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