Medications and the Sun

What you should know about medications and the sun

Some medications can cause your skin to become more sensitive to the sun. This is known as photosensitivity, and it can create a reaction that looks like an exaggerated sunburn. 

  • In general, the most common photosensitizing drugs are antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, diuretics, and vitamin A products. Other photosensitizing drugs include acne medications and birth control pills. 
  • While sun protection is always recommended, it is particularly important when you take certain medications.
  • The best way to avoid a reaction is to stay out of the sun during peak hours, which are generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • If you must go out into the sun while you are taking one of these medications, wear a sunscreen with broad spectrum UV protection and wear loose-fitting, light-coloured protective clothing (such as a long sleeve shirt and wide-brimmed hat). 

Please note:
The information provided on this site is not medical advice and is not intended to replace a consultation with your pharmacist or physician. If you have questions about your medication(s) or are experiencing a health concern, please talk to your pharmacist.

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