Sun Allergy

What is sun allergy?

Sun allergy is the cutaneous reaction that appears with sun exposure; it can be a symptom of different dermatological pathologies. Among the most common manifestations, the following stand out:

  • Polymorphic light eruption (PLE); it is related to hormonal factors, so it appears mainly in women. It appears in the form of small bumps and papules that appear a few hours after sunbathing, most frequently on the face and décolleté, but can also appear on the back of the arms and feet.
  • Solar urticaria; less frequent than the previous one, it presents with larger wheals, similar to an insect bite. It affects men and women indifferently, and does not affect any specific part of the body. It appears within a few minutes after sunbathing.
  • Actinic prurigo; it manifests with thickening of the skin, and appears mainly in older people.

Sun allergy is the skin reaction that appears with exposure to the sun.

Symptoms of sun allergy

The main symptoms of sun allergy are itching, pain and redness of the skin and usually appear within a few hours or days after sun exposure on the exposed areas. Other (less frequent) symptoms such as headache, nausea or chills may occur.

What causes sun allergy?

The factors that cause sun allergy are unknown, although it is known that symptoms appear when there is longer than normal exposure to UVA and/or UVB rays (especially in spring and summer). It is therefore one of the primary idiopathic photodermatoses.

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Can it be prevented?

To prevent sun allergy, it is very important to protect your skin with sunscreen and clothing. Also, you should try to get your skin used to sun exposure. In addition, people with sensitive skin are advised to avoid perfumes, deodorants and cosmetics when sunbathing.

What does the treatment consist of?

Basically, the treatment of sun allergy focuses on the application of sun protection, although it is true that in more severe cases drugs such as corticosteroids or antimalarials may be used.