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Sunblock Allergies & Hives

author image Kristeen Cherney
Kristeen Cherney began writing healthy lifestyle and education articles in 2008. Since then, her work has appeared in various online publications, including Healthline.com, Ideallhealth.com and FindCollegeInfo.com. Cherney holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in English.
Sunblock Allergies & Hives
Some ingredients in sunscreen can cause allergic reactions. Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Sunblock is a beauty must-have for everyone. To make your beauty regimen easier, many cosmetic companies carry moisturizers, primers and foundations with built-in sunscreens. If you have developed a rash or hives after applying sunscreen or related cosmetics, you may wonder whether allergies to ingredients in sunblock are to blame. Before you ditch your sunscreen, take steps determine the cause of your hives.

Types of Sunblock

There is a misconception that all UV ray-blocking sunblocks protects skin the same way. You may choose from two types of sunscreen -- chemical absorbers and physical blockers. Chemical absorbers help convert potentially damaging radiation into safe forms, with ingredients such as aminobenzoic acid, trolamine salicylate and homosalate. These chemicals primarily block UVB rays. Given the numerous ingredients in chemical absorbers, these types of sunblock may be more allergenic. Physical blockers screen out ultraviolet radiation. With ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, they tend to be less allergenic.

Hives Defined

Hives, or urticaria, are red, raised bumps on the skin that form in response to allergens. When your immune system comes into contact with substances you’re allergic to -- such as an ingredient in sunblock -- you may develop them. Hives are commonplace during the summer because heat causes flare-ups. To distinguish the cause of hives, determine whether the rash is occurring on a part of the body that you put sunscreen on or not.

Test Your Sunblock

Always test a new sunblock before use, and don’t assume natural products won’t cause hives. Allergic reactions can develop from both chemical and plant-based substances. Test a new product on a small patch of skin to gauge your reaction to it. If no reactions occur, then you may try it all over your skin. You may need to test many sunblocks with differing ingredients to find one that is comfortable.

Sunscreen in Beauty Products

Determine whether any of your sunscreen-infused beauty products contain the ingredients you’re sensitive to. To avoid hives, steer clear of the same ingredients in beauty products you’re allergic to in regular sunblock. See an allergist if your condition persists. Hives may indicate that you’re allergic to more than just sunblock.

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