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What is Hypoallergenic Sunscreen?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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Hypoallergenic sunscreen is a kind of sunscreen that is made without using ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin or products that can cause allergic reactions. For example, there are a number of people who have a sensitivity to fragrances. Almost all hypoallergenic sunscreen is made without the use of any kind of fragrance. This includes both fragrances that are made of non-organic materials and fragrances that are made entirely with natural and organic ingredients such as organic essential lavender oil or organic essential rose oil. Any other types of ingredients that can cause irritation or allergic reactions in some members of the population are kept out of formulas for hypoallergenic sunscreen.

It is common for hypoallergenic sunscreen to be used on children. This is because children are prone to having sensitive skin. Although many adults recognize that it is important to wear sunscreen, most parents use sunscreen on their children even if they don't use it on themselves. This is because children very often have skin that is more delicate than the skin of adults, which has already weathered many years of sun exposure. Some parents choose to use hypoallergenic sunscreen on their children even if their children do not have any known allergies or specific sensitivities to the ingredients commonly used in regular kinds of sunscreen.

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In almost all cases, hypoallergenic sunscreen is made without the use of PABA which is short for "para-aminobenzoic acid." Para-aminobenzoic acid has been used in some kinds of sunscreen but studies have shown that there are some adverse effects. Some studies have shown para-aminobenzoic acid might increase the level of damage caused to the skin by ultraviolet rays. Also, it can cause some problems for people with certain allergies. Some less serious problems with para-aminobenzoic acid include that, when it is used in sunscreen, it can cause discoloration in clothing.

For all of the reasons listed above, hypoallergenic sunscreen is almost always listed as being "PABA-free," meaning that it is formulated without the use of para-aminobenzoic acid. It is also common for hypoallergenic sunscreen to be made without the use of any kind of oil. This is because oils in skin care products can sometimes clog the pores and create rashes or breakouts. As such, a number of sunscreens that are hypoallergenic are also oil-free and are advertised as such.

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