Medications and the Sun

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. It is considered to be the start of summer. When we think of summer, we think of being outside, barbecues, being near or in some kind of water, and having the sun on our skin.  

We fail to realize that this can put us at an increased risk for skin-related issues like sunburn or even worse, skin cancers. A lot of medications can cause photosensitivity to the sun. 

Some common classes of medications that can increase sensitivity to the sun include certain antibiotics, antifungals, anti nausea medications, cholesterol-lowering medications, certain diabetes medications, diuretics, and even OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen and OTC antihistamines like diphenhydramine, cetirizine, or loratadine. 

So, you may think, “I’m not sure if my medication will make me more sensitive to the sun.” You ask, “what should I do?” You can always stop by one of the seven Moose Pharmacy locations and ask your local Moose pharmacist which of your medications may make you more sensitive to the sun. 

You can also pick up some broad-spectrum sunscreen while you are at Moose Pharmacy. A few other tips to help protect you from the sun is to remember when the sun is reflected off of sand or water it may be stronger. 

Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen which includes protection against both UVA and UVB radiation with a minimum SPF of 15, although SPF 30 is preferred. The broad-spectrum sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes prior to going outside then reapplying every couple of hours while in the sun. 

If you are swimming the broad-spectrum sunscreen should be reapplied in 40 to 80 minutes depending on the manufacturer's label. Remember to dry off first and wait at least 20 minutes to get back into the water after reapplying.

Bullet Points:

  • Several medications can interact with the sun including some that are OTC
  • Ask a Moose Pharmacist which of your medications, including OTC that you take may make you more sensitive to the sun
  • Make sure to pick up a broad-spectrum sunscreen while at Moose Pharmacy.
  • Remember to always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF of 15, 20 minutes before you head outdoors