Sun allergy is a condition in which sunlight triggers an allergic skin reaction. The rashes are usually seen in sunexposed areas. The rashes range from red itchy areas to hives and blisters. Sun allergies are triggered by changes that occur in the sun exposed skin. The immune system recognizes some components of the sun altered skin as an antigen and the body activates its immune defense against them. This starts an allergic reaction.There are different types of sunallergy like PolyMorphous Light Erruption, Actinic Prurigo, Chronic Actinic Dermatitis and solar Urticaria. If you have attacks of pain or itch that comes up immediately on exposure to sunlight, its most likely to be solar urticaria. Itching rash that comes up a few hours after sun exposure and lasts few days are Polymorphous light erruption, Actinic prurigo or Chronic actinic dermatitis.
The rashes are usually seen in sun exposed areas of the body like face, ‘V’region of the neck, back of arms, legs.
Polymorphous Light Erruption:
PMLE is seen in women more than men. PMLE usually begins in spring or summer. PMLE starts as itching red rash on sun exposed areas. PMLE usually returns every year. Repeated exposure to sun causes hardening and the rash disappears but returns next year. Within first two hours of sun exposure, itching or burning rash appears. Within two hours chills, nausea and malaise may be experienced. Plaques or blisters are formed rarely.
This is an inherited condition. It is usually intense. Starts in childhood or adolescense.Symptoms are similar to PMLE but appears more on face especially around lips. The duration also follows a seasonal pattern similar to PMLE.
Skin reaction is triggered by the effect on sunlight on a chemical that has been applied to the skin or ingested. Rashes begins within one or two days after exposure to the sun. Itching rashes or blisters begin to appear. The rashes may spread to skin areas covered by clothing.The erruption usually disappears after the chemical is no longer used.
Usually seen in women. Hives appear on the sun exposed areas within minutes of exposure to the sun. They fade within 30 minutes to 2 hours but return when exposed to sun again.
PMLE is most in Caucasians.
Solar urticaria and PMLE is most commonly seen in women more than men.
Certain medications can trigger allergic reactions like Certain antibiotics, NSAIDS. Certain lotions disinfectants can trigger allergic reaction.
SLE, atopic dermatitis. Having a blood relative with sun allergy increases your chance of getting sun allergy.
The sympoms usually point to the diagnosis of sun allergy. However a skin biopsy or photo testing may be done. In photo testing, a small area of the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays. If your symptoms return, then its sun allergy. Blood tests need to be done to exclude systemic lupus erythematosis. In photoallergic reaction, attempt must be made to recogonise the chemical that is causing the reaction.
Every step must be taken to protect the body from sun. Avoid the midday sun, when the sun is at its peak. Apply sunscreen lotion with SPF 15 or higher and use a product that offers protection against both UVA and UVB. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Use a sunblock for your lips, lip balms with SPF 20 or higher. Cover yorself properly while going out in the sun, like using long sleeves, gloves, hats etc. Use sunglasses with UV protection. While using skin care products or medications, be aware if it is causing an allergic reaction.
For mild symptoms apply cool compresses or spray little water to your skin. Apply calamine lotion.
You can use the pulp of its leaf directly or use aloe based cream or lotion. Apply the pulp in the evening, otherwise it will darken the skin on exposure to sun. While buying products, it should contain atleast 30% of natural aloe. Aloe extracts are also available. Aloe can also lighten the skin by a few shades and improve the texture of your skin.Vaseline is another useful product.Adding a little baking powder to your bath water can help you cool off.Cucumber slices, grated potato soothes your skin.
A diet rich in antioxidants is excellent. Take lots of fruits and vegetables. Include tomatoes, fish, eggs and chicken in your diet. Rehydrate yourself by drinking lots of clean water.
The outlook is very good if you take care in the sun. Photo allergic eruption disappears once you stop using the chemical. PMLE and actinic prurigo improves with time.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.