Why summer is the season of the mystery rash

07/26/2011 | New York Times (tiered subscription model), The

Overexposure to the summer sun not only causes skin sunburn, it can also cause photosensitivity reactions in people taking certain medications or wearing perfume, dermatologist Deborah Sarnoff says. Because the reaction is often delayed, many people are puzzled by it. Some antibiotics, diuretics, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, retinoids and even sunscreens that contain benzophenones can react with ultraviolet A rays to cause a rash or a phototoxic reaction similar to a bad sunburn. Several sunscreen ingredients that block UVA rays can prevent outbreaks, including titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone.

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