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Another girl issue....

Mocha's mum
May 20th, 2007, 11:10 PM
:rolleyes: So, I read or heard somewhere that taking birth control pills increases your chances of getting a sunburn. Is this true? I've been searching on the net forever and can't really find anything.

The reason I ask is I've burned three times in the last two weeks. Even when the burn turns to a tan, I burn on top of that! The first time was my own fault...I didn't have sunscreen. But the other two times I put on sunscreen; and it's not expired....

What the deuce??

May 20th, 2007, 11:50 PM
Don't know. I haven't noticed a difference, but I've always been a burner. :rolleyes:

May 21st, 2007, 12:48 AM
Certain medications make you more UV sensative. Usually you can check with any fake and bake place for a complete listing of them. I don't think birth control is on it, but I could be wrong. Does your prescription say it could make you photosensative?

May 21st, 2007, 01:39 AM
The atmosphere is changing, so it could that is the reason your more likely to burn. I know pencillin or tetrcycline makes you more likely. Never heard that birth control does that though.

May 21st, 2007, 08:16 AM
Yes, oral contraceptives can increase sensitivity to the sun, which is one of the reasons there have been so many studies on a possible link between OCs and melanoma (no conclusive link has been found btw).

May 21st, 2007, 08:23 AM
The reason I ask is I've burned three times in the last two weeks. Even when the burn turns to a tan, I burn on top of that! The first time was my own fault...I didn't have sunscreen. But the other two times I put on sunscreen; and it's not expired....

I've never heard that about BCPs. but the fact that you burned 3x in 2 wks isn't good. You probably need a better sunscreen (higher spf, that protects against UVA and UVB rays).

May 21st, 2007, 09:44 AM
You can get sunscreens from pharmacies now that are 100 SPF, I think they are made by Roche, but they are really expensive.

May 21st, 2007, 10:34 AM
I do think the pill makes your skin more sensible. Also, the thing with sunscreen is people think it's better to use a high SPF, it is but with any sunscreen lotion, you have to put it every 2-3-4 hours. if you only put it once in the morning, it will only last a few hours.

May 21st, 2007, 10:43 AM
I do think the pill makes your skin more sensible.

i've no problem with having smarter skin, LOL :D

May 21st, 2007, 11:00 AM
Are you using any anti-aging products - acids/retinols/Vitamin C - that could make your skin extra sun sensitive? I can't use any such anti-aging products - just as well - I am very pale with a nanosecond burn rate. Havent' heard that BCP makes skin any more sensitive and I still take Alesse just for some estrogen at my advanced age.

May 21st, 2007, 11:08 AM
Yes they can, see the attached link. The appendix to the article lists a bunch of known sun-sensitizers.

May 21st, 2007, 11:41 AM
Oh, I thought it was only the patch that did it... Normally they don't put warnings on pills, but on the patch, they always put the "may cause sensitivity to sun exposure" or something.:shrug:

May 21st, 2007, 02:48 PM
It depends on several factors - what kind of oral contraceptive you are taking, how sensitive YOU are and what other meds or even herbals you are taking that interact with the contraceptive to cause sunburns. For ex, certain brands interact very badly with St. John's wart and can cause bad sunburns. Some people have light skin (like me, anyone with a northern European ancestry) and that also does not help.

There have been 10 excellent studies and a plethora of not well regarded studies conducted to study the correlation between melanoma and the use if oral contraceptives - and since there is some correlation between melanoma and sunburns - this was factored in the ten studies rated the best. The results of those 10 studies - combined- and they examined long term use (over a period of 20 plus yrs in some cases) - showed no increase in risk. I still think some of the samples were small so like most oncologists - and as a recent survivor of melanoma - I think the jury is still out.

Here is one of the abstracts from the British Journal of Cancer:

"Melanoma has been increasing in white populations. Incidence rates rise steeply in women until about age 50, suggesting oestrogen as a possible risk factor. Oestrogens can increase melanocyte count and melanin content and cause hyperpigmentation of the skin. We examined prospectively the association between oral contraceptive (OC) use and diagnoses of superficial spreading and nodular melanoma among 183 693 premenopausal white women in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II) cohorts. One hundred and forty six cases were confirmed in NHS during follow-up from 1976 to 1994, and 106 cases were confirmed in NHS II from 1989 to 1995. Skin reaction to sun exposure, sunburn history, mole counts, hair colour, family history of melanoma, parity, height and body mass index were also assessed and included in logistic regression models. A significant twofold increase in risk of melanoma (relative risk (RR) = 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-3.4) was observed among current OC users compared to never users. Risk was further increased among current users with 10 or more years of use (RR = 3.4, 95% CI 1.7-7.0). Risk did not appear elevated among past OC users, even among those with longer durations of use, and risk did not decline linearly with time since last use. In conclusion, risk of premenopausal melanoma may be increased among women who are current OC users, particularly among those with longer durations of use. Further research is needed to determine whether low-dose oestrogen pills in particular are associated with an increase in risk and to describe possible interactions between OC use and sun exposure or other risk factors for melanoma. "
reference: British Journal of Cancer (1999) 81, 918-923.

I am however, much more worried about other illnesses like thrombosis (blood clots that can lead to strokes and very serious illnesses!) and the possibility of strokes. With oral contraceptives -though the dosages now are much smaller than when women first started taking "the pill", there are still are concerns about these issues. Also, the aforementioned herbals and antibiotics can interfere with many contraceptives and decrease their efficacy - making them less useful. (So, if you have to take antibiotics. esp strong ones, it's good to be aware of that fact if you do not want to become pregnant.)

I could go on but this is pretty basic.

Mocha's mum
May 21st, 2007, 03:57 PM
Hey, thanks for the good info everyone! :thumbs up I never used to burn - this is my first year...:mad: I used to get super super dark, but never burn....

I saw a commercial for this sunscreen by Neutrogena that has an SPF of 70, and is good for UVA and UVB rays. Maybe I should pick some up....

So, in the meantime, I'm going to keep basting myself with aloe vera gel, and drink lots of fluids :rolleyes: Oh bother....

May 21st, 2007, 04:39 PM
When I was first on the pill I used to get very blotchy in the sun. I wouldn't burn but my tan was very splotchy on my arms. It was ugly--like camouflage. :yuck:

The following summer I was still on the pill but a different prescription and I was fine.

May 21st, 2007, 08:18 PM
My pills never had any warnings about sun sensitivity on the package either. When I was on them I developed some strange brown spots but none since I stopped.:shrug:

You can get a neat little card at LD for a 1.99 that you hold up to the sun and it reads the UV intensity. Not sure how acurate it is but gives an idea. You can also use it to check your sunglasses UV protection.

I'd be careful choosing a sunscreen because some are now actually being linked to cancer. This article mentions some of the ingredients to consider avoiding:

I use Banana Boat Sensitive Skin, its 30 spf, uva & uvb and only has one of the ingredients that is listed as possibly harmful (this article anyway). The active ingredients in my lotion are Homosalate 7%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Titanium Dioxide 3.2%. I always used it because it was Paba free and I like that it has virtually no odour at all.
2. The FDA requires that all sun protection products display a Sun Protection Factor or SPF label. The SPF indicates the relative amount of sunburn protection a product can provide when used correctly. Sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15 are recommended, however the number can be misleading as an SPF of 30 is not twice as protective as an SPF of 15. When used properly, an SPF of 15 protects the skin from 93 percent of UVB radiation and an SPF 30 sunscreen provides 97 percent protection. Anything higher than 30 provides only a marginal amount of added protection, and should still be reapplied every two hours.Rest of article: Sorry hope thats not too much information.:p O gosh and I just remembered too that not getting enough vitamin D is now being linked to cancer so don't stay out of the sun completely.:)

May 21st, 2007, 09:28 PM
I use Ombrelle SPF 60 recommended by my dermatologist, It's great! (even tho I also try to stay out of the sun!!) Actually Ombrelle is recommended by most dermotologists for anyone with a predisposition for melanoma or any lesions or any kind of skin cancer - and as someone who is trying to survive that, I will use only what is recommended for someone in that situation. Never heard about Banana Boat as a good one - you have to make sure it covers both types of sun rays - but it might be fine if you have no worries about skin cancer! No history and no chronic time in the sun. For a complete physical block, you need to add zinc oxide.

Here is a quite good basic page that provides some good basic info:

I've done the chemo for melanoma and I do not wish it on anyone. I have also treated it and it is not fun no matter when it is found! I think back to the days as a kid when I used to get burned at the beach - it was the only way I would tan - and realize how foolish I was!! (But I did not know even tho my grandmother told me to stay out of the sun and there were few viable products then, some sun screen - Baby Faces SPF 30 by the time I was in my teens when it was likely too late.) Oh well, I do think most parents are really conscientious now thank goodness!! My brother never allows his kids outdoors without any sun block, even or maybe especially to ski!!

May 22nd, 2007, 08:33 PM
Yes, the risk of stroke is very real. I do have three acquaintences who were quite young when they had strokes (in their 20's), females who where on 'the pill'. They were all on the newer pills (I am 37 and they are of my same age, to give you some idea of what generation pills they were on). No one said they had them because of their contraceptive choice, and I wonder if the incidence of strokes in women on the pill may be underreported. I am not sure if my friends had other issues that contributed to their strokes, so hard to say what the true causes were. It is definitely enough to make one wonder though. I have had enough of the side-effects to take my chances with other less effective methods... Please, do not think you are safe from all those side-effects listed, they are very real and can happen to anyone. They may not be as rare as you think.

May 31st, 2007, 11:58 PM
I never knew that the pill could make you more sensitive to the sun. hmm... who woulda thought? I've been on the pill for the last 3-4 years and I haven't noticed any changes. I burn either way! lol