Skin Cancer Care Specialists | August 1, 2019
When you are exposed to the sun and your skin turns red, it may not be a regular sun burn. Redness of the skin can also be a symptom of a sun allergy. There are multiple forms of sun allergies, the most common being polymorphic light eruption, or sun poisoning. While the allergy may develop over time, there are also types of hereditary sun allergies and they can also come about due to chemicals you use or certain medical conditions you may suffer from.
It is important to recognize the symptoms of a sun allergy. Visual signs can vary and may include:
- Tiny bumps or raised patches of skin
- Itching or pain
- Blisters or hives
- Scaling, crusting or bleeding
The above symptoms usually occur within minutes to hours of sun exposure.
There are risk factors regarding sun allergies as well as preventative measures that can be taken to avoid certain sun allergies. Some risk factors include race (lighter skin), substance exposure (when your skin is exposed to certain substances or chemicals and then to the sun light), pre-existing skin conditions (such as dermatitis), hereditary factors (if a parent or sibling has a sun allergy, you are more likely to), and certain medications you may be taking (such as antibiotics, sulfa based drugs, and pain relievers).
There are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid sun allergy reactions. First, try to avoid the sun’s rays during the hours of 10am and 4pm, this is when the sun is at its peak. Second, don’t shock your skin! If you spend most of your time indoors and want to get outside more, start with short amounts of time in the sun and gradually increase the exposure over time. Third, wear protective clothing and sunglasses. Fourth, avoid any known triggers your skin may have. For example, if you know that certain chemicals/substances can cause your skin to react, avoid them as much as possible. Finally, USE SUNSCREEN! Remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to your skin every two hours while you are exposed to the sun.
Normally, mild cases of sun allergy will clear up without treatment. However, certain cases may be treated with steroid creams or medications. If you have a severe case or you think you may have a sun allergy, make sure you contact your dermatologist to schedule an appointment.
At Skin Cancer Care Specialists, we believe that it is important to educate yourself on how to protect your skin on a daily basis. Dr. Weisberg is a fellowship trained Mohs surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of skin conditions. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Weisberg please contact our office at 561-775-6011.