Sunscreen Allergy: A Review of Epidemiology, Clinical Characteristics, and Responsible Allergens

Elyse Scheuer; Erin Warshaw


Dermatitis. 2006;17(1):3-11. 

In This Article

Management and Differential Diagnosis of Sunscreen Allergy

As sunscreen allergy has become one of the most important causes of photoallergy over the last several decades, the management of this problem begins with the proper identification of the sunscreen allergen through patch testing and photopatch testing. Education for proper avoidance is critical. Patients must be made aware of the antigen's synonyms. As the physical blockers have been shown to cause neither allergy nor photoallergy, their use should be encouraged although the patient must be aware of commercial products that contain both physical blockers and chemical absorbers. The Contact Allergen Replacement Database[53] may be useful in providing a list of allergen-free products for these patients.

Other photosensitivity disorders that should be considered in the differential diagnosis of sunscreen allergy include PMLE, chronic actinic dermatitis, persistent light eruption, lupus, and porphyrias.