As summer approaches, it is important to understand the potential for sun sensitivity that accompanies many common acne treatments. Our acne patients are often using a combination of prescription acne medications with in-office laser and light treatments. Both of these groups have potential to make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
In-office laser and light acne treatments, such as Photodynamic Therapy, can cause increased sun sensitivity. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses a light-sensitizing medication called Levulan; this medication is activated by Blue Light in the office to decrease oil production and p. acne bacteria. However, the medication is absorbed in the pores and your skin remains very sun sensitive for at least 24 hours. It is important for patients to understand that they must avoid sun exposure after PDT.
There are prescription medications that cause increased sun sensitivity as well. Here is a list of a few medications that will require the diligent use of sunscreen this summer:
Doryx, Doxycycline, Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, Differin, Atralin, Monodox, Ziana
It is important that all patients wear broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly, though patients using these medications or treatments must be particularly careful.