There really is a sun allergy – here you can find out if you also suffer from it

  1. BuzzFeed
  2. Buzz

Created: Updated:


It is also known as polymorphic light eruption and quickly spoils the summer. Here are some symptoms that indicate sun allergy. © Danr13 / Getty Images

A few years ago, I received a diagnosis that would have made my former goth self cheer: I’m allergic to the sun.

It’s actually more of a sensitivity type than an allergic reaction (we’ll get to that in a moment), but it manifests itself in my skin developing tiny, horrible, itchy bumps every summer.

This is called polymorphous light eruption and presents as a rash that develops when the skin is exposed to the sun. And although skin can be allergic to the sun for a variety of reasons, photodermatosis is the most common type of photosensitivity. And she’s incredibly annoying.

It usually starts on the back of the hand and then slowly moves up the arm. Scratching only makes it worse, but it itches so much that I wake up in the middle of the night scratching my hands. Also, it doesn’t look pretty at all — some idiot once made a comment about my “zombie” hands at a party.

First, I received several false eczema diagnoses before realizing it was the annual sun rash, which is not uncommon. In fact, it affects 15 percent of all people and most commonly affects fair-skinned women in their teens and 20s, who are more likely to live in the north and who have a history of cases in their families.

Sun allergy: Some people are particularly prone to the itchy rash

I asked a dermatologist to give me all the information about sun allergy.

See also  A Russian doctor reveals 4 signs of a stroke

So firstly, it’s not exactly the same as an allergy. “I don’t think you can think of it as an allergy,” says Dr. Whitney High, chief of dermatopathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

However, it is understandable why it is often referred to as “sun allergy”. An allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to proteins in food, pollen, or animal dander. Polymorphic light eruption, on the other hand, is photosensitivity, or the body’s response to UV light.

Doctors don’t yet know exactly why, but in people with photodermatosis, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light triggers an immune response that causes inflammation, swelling, itching, and various types of rashes, including small blisters and swollen skin looks like it has a coating.

One hand is covered with small swellings caused by an allergy to the sun.
A hand is covered with small swellings from a sun allergy. © Daniel Bruno / Getty Images

“Even now, when it’s really common, we still don’t know exactly why people suffer from it,” High continues.

But the passage of time gives information. How the rash develops over time is an important indicator that it is photodermatosis and not another skin disease.

“Typically, puffiness and redness appear 4 to 6 hours after skin is exposed to the sun,” says High. “Rash, redness, swelling, itching and similar symptoms last for 2 to 3 days. Then the immune system slowly stops responding and the skin returns to normal.”

It usually occurs at the beginning of summer, when our skin is more exposed to the sun. For me, the rash usually appears in June, then gets progressively worse until it starts to clear up again in mid-summer. This is fairly typical, as the longer the skin is exposed to the sun, the lessen the symptoms.

See also  closed and without equipment: Audit

There is no cure for sun allergy, but the symptoms can be treated

But the dermatosis occurs not only in the summer. If I’m vacationing in a warm place in the winter, I can be sure it’ll be up and running within 24 hours. Not funny.

There is no cure, but the dermatosis can be treated. Instead of waiting for the rash to go away on its own, you can force your body to face the problem. High says she once had an intern with polymorphic photodermatosis who used UV lights to force a reaction to make it go faster. (Although you should keep in mind that tanning beds are suspected to promote skin cancer. While UV lamps are used to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, you should consult your doctor first about using one for photodermatosis.)

Otherwise corticosteroids for external use are recommended. From personal experience, I can say that ointments that relieve itching are also a blessing.

Prevention is also important, which means wearing long sleeves and a big hat. And you may think sunscreen is helpful, but it can do little. It takes very little sun to trigger a reaction, so sunscreen has little effect, says High. In general, sunscreen is superfluous, as these 19 chilling photos show (which, however, are not meant to be taken entirely seriously).

But the good news is that dermatosis does not harm the skin in the long term. “She’s not dangerous at all,” High confirms. “It doesn’t cause cancer or infection; and it’s not contagious.”

The worst thing about her is her looks, but the positive thing is that you have an excuse for always going out with an umbrella. And the risk decreases with menopause: some studies indicate that the dermatosis is related to the female hormone estrogen.

See also  Börse Express - Almdudler designs “Limited Edition” for Aids Help Initiative #positivarbeiten

This article first appeared in English.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media

Most Popular

On Key

Related Posts