5 Ingredients You Should NEVER Use During the Day
With Memorial Day Weekend just a few days away, most of us are gearing up to spend a little (okay, a lot) more time outdoors. And, while we’re all well aware that broad-spectrum SPF is a much-needed summertime accessory, did you know that certain ingredients found in your favorite skin care products can thwart your efforts to stay sunburn-free? If you’re looking to protect your skin while you’re enjoying some of that fun in the sun this summer, read this. We’re sharing the five ingredients you should avoid during the daytime below.
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.
5 Ingredients That Can Cause Sun Sensitivity
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 Skincare.com consultant, and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Corey Hartman, “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.
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 since it—and its derivatives—exfoliate the skin’s surface, ridding the skin of dead skin cells and revealing new, more vulnerable cells underneath.
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. A common ingredient found in over-the-counter acne-fighting products, salicylic acid is a keratolytic known to help to exfoliate the skin in order to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. It’s often found in cleansers, spot treatments, and scrubs that have been formulated to help get rid of acne.
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.”
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 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 the expert advice you need to keep your skin safe from the sun this summer.