What Do Experts Know About Sun Allergy?
There are people who, when exposed to sunlight, experience symptoms, similar to those of an allergic reaction: itching or burning sensation, gives, or even rashes. This makes people think they have a sun allergy.
In fact, only a few of them truly have a hereditary type of sun allergy, and therefore, are more sensitive to sunlight.
There are certain medications and topical agents that may cause an allergy-like reaction on the skin after exposure to the sun. In most cases of “sun allergy”, the skin’s reaction to sun exposure occurs as result of the use of such medications.
Skin’s reaction to sunlight usually occurs on the open areas of the skin surface that are easily accessible to the sun. The symptoms of the reaction include the presence of blisters or hives, red skin, itchiness or pain, tiny bumps, areas of scaling, crusting or bleeding skin.
Sun-induced hives, also known as solar urticaria, is a skin condition in which exposure to the sunlight leads to development of hives. Such symptoms include itchy, red skin and hives on the areas exposed to the sun.
The symptoms of solar urticaria are quite similar to the symptoms of a sunburn. The main difference between the two is the length of time the condition is present. Unlike sunburn, that occurs after several hours of sun exposure and lasts for several days, solar urticaria can occur within a few minutes of sun exposure and last for less than one day.
Another form of chronic hives is cholinergic urticaria, more commonly known as heat urticaria. This type of hives may occur as a result of an increase in body temperature, including hot showers, exercise, spicy food, etc. Some people with cholinergic urticaria can develop the symptoms after experiencing strong emotions.
Various skin products may be causing allergy, including sunscreens. There are people whose skin may react to sunscreen and develop the symptoms of contact dermatitis. The rash may occur anywhere on the areas of the skin where the product was applied. However, exposure to the sunlight increases the probability of an allergic reaction. This condition is called photo-contact dermatitis.
Photo-contact dermatitis normally affect the areas of the skin such as the face, the area of the upper chest, the backs of the hands and forearms. These areas are usually the most sun-exposed.
Other Causes of Sun Sensitivity
An allergy-like reaction of the skin triggered by sunlight may also be caused by other diseases, including porphyria or systemic lupus erythematosus, which are very serious medical conditions. This is why it is important to consult a doctor, if you experience any allergic symptoms after the sun exposure.
Treatment of Sun Allergy
In the majority of cases, the conditions that are referred to as sun allergy resolve on their own with time. To alleviate the symptoms, you may use some soothing skin balms available over-the-counter, for instance, calamine lotion or aloe vera.
However, more serious cases of sun allergy are also possible. Those can be treated with such medications as ibuprofen, or even systemic or topical steroids. To avoid the development of a severe reaction to sunlight, it is recommended to minimize the time you spend outdoors, while the sunlight is strongest, or use covering to protect your skin.