google-site-verification=FtIyLTUis79a3PnuubAVcfEEG9yiJNj_QXWndgVt21s { "@context": "", "@type": "LocalBusiness", "name": "Esthetics by Ida", "url": "", "image": "", "address": { "@type": "PostalAddress", "addressCountry": "CA", "addressLocality": "London", "addressRegion": "ON", "postalCode": "N5V 5A2", "streetAddress": "1481 Kilally Road" }, "telephone": "519 453 9022" }
top of page

Photosensitive foods and drugs

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Photosensitive Foods and Drugs

Photosensitivity is the term used to describe sensitivity to UV rays from sunlight and other light sources, such as indoor fluorescent light. I have to check people's skin with this condition before I do IPL treatments on them.

UVA triggers Phytophotodermatitis in the range of 320–380 nanometers

In descending order, these are the things I worry about the most.

IPL therapist doing treatment
photosensitive foods and drugs

Photosensitive foods and drugs

Many people use Alpha-hydroxy acids, Accutane or Retinol, Retin A for skin care. They see it as the end-all answer for everything. These skin care products can increase your risk of severe sunburn by stripping the outer layer of the skin if I am doing IPL on a client. I asked the client to stop using the product for several months before I did IPL.

Excessive Vitamin A also causes problems with IPL.

Photosensitive medication: They irritate the skin and cause a burn-like rash.

People taking antibiotics, i.e. doxycycline, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, ofloxacin, and trimethoprim, should be cautious of sun exposure.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen, can also cause sunburn-like skin reactions.

Sunscreen ingredient, benzophenone-3, can be allergenic, causing a severe rash. If you believe you are sensitive to the sun, look for a high SPF without oxybenzone or benzophenone-3 listed in the ingredients.

Antihistamines and allergy medications that contain diphenhydramine, like Benadryl, can cause sun sensitivity.

Foods can also cause photosensitivity:

Lime, celery, dill, fennel, parsley, figs, mango peel, artichoke, lettuce, and endive.

Artificial sweeteners: calcium cyclamate, cyclamates, or sodium cyclohexyl sulfamate can also contribute to photosensitivity.

Herbal remedies: Avoid St. John’s Wort and Gingko Biloba, especially if you take photosensitive medication.

Essential oils: bergamot orange, bitter orange, lavender, lemon verbena, musk, rosemary, or sandalwood can make your skin more reactive to the sun.

Flowers and Weeds: Wild carrot, (Queens Anne Lace), False bishop’s weed, Hogweeds and the Cow Parsnips, Persian Hogweed, Burning Bush, Arnica, Chrysanthemum, Dandelion, Marigold, and Sunflower, Dahlia, Chicory, Lovage, Angelica, Yarrow, Winter wheat (cattle), Medicago (alfalfa), Brassica (mustards), and Kochia scoparia (fireweed)


Perfumes, body scrubs, peels or exfoliants can increase your skin’s sensitivity. Stop using your bouquet a day or two before and exfoliating before exposure to the sun.

People with rheumatoid conditions like lupus can be both cutaneous (skin) and systemic lupus. This autoimmune disease may cause photosensitivity. They can experience rashes, fever, fatigue, joint pain, and other symptoms.

Some forms of Psoriasis and Eczema are also irritated by the sun.

Vitiligo can also worsen with sun exposure.

Here are some other related articles you may enjoy learning from:

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page