5 Skin-Care Ingredients You Shouldn’t Use During the Day
While we’re all well aware that broad-spectrum SPF is an everyday skin-care must, did you know that certain ingredients found in your favorite products can threaten your efforts to stay sun-damage-free? If you’re looking to protect your skin from the effects of daily UV rays, read on to discover five ingredients you should avoid during the daytime.
What Is Photosensitivity?
According to the FDA, “Photosensitivity makes a person sensitive to sunlight and can cause sunburn-like symptoms, a rash or other unwanted side effects. It can be triggered by products applied to the skin or medicines taken by mouth or injected.”
Many of our favorite exfoliating skin-care ingredients, like alpha-hydroxy acids, can cause photosensitivity to occur. Photosensitivity doesn’t just mean sunburns, it can also increase your chances of developing signs of skin aging, including dark spots, skin discoloration and wrinkles.
Skin-Care Ingredients That Can Cause Sun Sensitivity
#1. Fruit Enzymes
Fruit enzymes are commonly found in in-office and at-home chemical peels. These are wonderful for gentle exfoliation, which can reveal brighter-looking skin, but they also can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. “Peels should be avoided during periods of intense sun exposure because they can make a person more vulnerable to the effects of the sun.” According to Dr. Corey Hartman, Skincare.com consultant and board-certified dermatologist, “Skin is more susceptible to hyperpigmentation, irritation and photosensitivity while peeling.” Instead of booking your peels during the warmer months, consider making your appointments or using them in your routine once the weather cools down in the winter.
#2. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
Used primarily for chemical exfoliation, alpha-hydroxy acids are a prime example of an ingredient that can cause sun sensitivity. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are two common alpha-hydroxy acids found in toners, serums and moisturizers. They are great for helping to brighten the appearance of the skin, but thanks to their exfoliating abilities, they leave new skin cells vulnerable to sun damage. Using products formulated with AHAs at nighttime is key, especially during the summer months.
A gold-standard anti-aging ingredient, retinol, can be found in a multitude of products formulated to fight wrinkles and the signs of aging. But, retinol is an ingredient that should only be used at night because it — and its derivatives — exfoliate the skin’s surface, ridding it of dead skin cells and revealing new, more vulnerable cells underneath.
#4. Salicylic Acid
Alpha-hydroxy acids aren’t the only culprits that can cause your skin to be more prone to sun damage — their counterparts beta-hydroxy acids can, as well. Salicylic acid, a common ingredient found in over-the-counter acne-fighting products, is a keratolytic known to help to exfoliate the skin in order to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells from its surface. It’s often found in cleansers, spot treatments and scrubs that have been formulated to help get rid of acne.
#5. Benzoyl Peroxide
Another common acne-fighting ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, is also known to cause photosensitivity. “Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial made of benzoic acid and oxygen,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Peter Schmid. “It penetrates the pores or follicles of the skin and kills the bacteria that lives there and contributes to inflammation that results in acne.”
But before you think you have to pack away some of your beloved cleansers, spot treatments and serums, know this: Just because a product contains one of these ingredients doesn’t mean you have to stop using it in the summer, it just means you need to use it at the right times and take the proper precautions. Instead of reaching for products that are formulated with the ingredients listed above during your morning routine, incorporate them at nighttime. Then, come morning, be sure to diligently apply and reapply broad-spectrum SPF as directed.
Not sure if a product in your routine is okay for daytime use? Reach out to your dermatologist who can offer you expert advice on how to keep your skin safe from the sun.