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Adverse Reactions to Sunscreen Agents: Epidemiology, Responsible Irritants and Allergens, Clinical Characteristics, and Management

Heurung, Ashley R. MD*; Raju, Srihari I. MD; Warshaw, Erin M. MD, MS

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000079
Reviews

Sunscreen is a key component in the preventive measures recommended by dermatologists and public health campaigns aimed at reducing sunburn, early skin aging, and skin cancer. To maximize compliance, adverse reactions to sunscreens should be minimized. Although inactive ingredients cause many of these reactions, it is important for dermatologists to be aware of reactions to active ultraviolet filters. There are approximately 120 chemicals that can function as ultraviolet (UV) filters. This review focuses on the 36 most common filters in commercial and historical use. Of these, 16 are approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration. The benzophenones and dibenzoylmethanes are the most commonly implicated UV filters causing allergic and photoallergic contact dermatitis (PACD) reactions; benzophenone-3 is the leading allergen and photoallergen within this class. When clinically indicated, patch and photopatch testing should be performed to common UV filters.

From the *Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School; and †Department of Dermatology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

No reprints available.

This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States government.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2014 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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