Learn more about sun allergy

Photo: Pixabay

August is one of the most popular summer vacation months as people are heading to the beach, the country, the mountains or even simply staying home to fulfill vacation time and before school starts.  But whether you are at the beach, country or home, the sun can cause us allergies!

The sun’s powerful rays can cause skin reactions accompanied by itchy skin (also known as pruritus). Most people can treat itchy skin with lotions, moisturizers and over the counter medicines and these simple treatments will typically clear it up.

Believe it or not there are some that cannot fully enjoy the sun as the sun can cause allergies.  The most common and frequent sun allergy skin rashes are benign summer light eruption (BSLE) and polymorphous light eruption (PMLE).  These allergies occur in up to 10% of the population and between age 15 and 35 years of age and affect mostly the female gender.  These diseases are often overlooked, however they are very important and need attention.

If after spending a few hours in the sun, you develop an itchy red bumpy rash on your chest and arms, you most likely have PMLE. It can be very uncomfortable the rash can also form blisters with intense itching. Most often when people say they have a sun allergy, this is what they mean. It is the most common allergy. Often times the manifestations are slight and pass almost unnoticed because they are interpreted as an allergy to a cream, perfume or piece of clothing.

The best protection to avoid an outbreak is to use suitable sunscreen and do your best to avoid sun exposure during peak times.  Also there are clothing pieces with specific UVA fibers that offer additional protection from the sun.  Wearing a tee-shirt is also helpful, however if it has been washed many times, it may cause more harm than good.

However, whether it be the beach, the countryside, or a trip to the perfect destination, we would like to wish all those who follow us a happy, safe summer vacation!

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