What is Sun Allergy?
A sun allergy manifests itself as a skin rash that breaks out after exposure to the sun. People most prone to having this reaction are those with fair skin, the elderly, as well as those taking drugs that have photosensitivity as one of their side effects.
Symptoms of Sun Allergy
Identifying when a sun allergy has occurred is best done by observing the symptoms and noting whether they occurred directly after exposure to sun light. The primary symptom of a sun allergy is a red, itchy rash that appears soon on the parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. Areas like the arms, neck, hands, and legs are particularly susceptible.
Symptoms of sun allergy include:
The most affected areas are those that are exposed to the sun such as chest, arms and legs. Sun allergy is more common in fair skinned people. Sometimes, a person that is not genetically predisposed to sun allergy may become sensitized to the sun due to certain foods like limes or wild parsnips. Medications like dipyrone, tetracycline, and sulfa-containing antibiotics have also been known to trigger a sun allergy.
Causes of Sun Allergy
The cause of sun allergy has been linked to fair skin and certain drugs that may reduce your melanin production. Less melanin means less protection from the sun.
Other causes like the activation of certain substances on your skin in the presence of the sun's rays, may also act as a culprit. A sun allergy is somewhat related to a heat allergy in that sweat, heat, and the rubbing of clothing fibers causes an allergic reaction.
Drugs which may increase your sensitivity to light are antibiotics, antifungals, antihistamines, analgesics, anesthetics. Preservatives and even cosmetics may also increase the chance of an allergic reactions to the sun.
Treatment for Sun Allergy
Avoiding exposure to the sun is the best treatment. Keeping your skin cool and hydrated may help reduce the incidence of sun allergy. This can be done by avoiding dark colored clothing in the hot sun, keeping hydrated, and moisturizing your skin with lotion. Swimming is also a good way to keep your skin cool and hydrated.
The rash from a sun allergy should normally go away on its own, but creams and pills are available to help it heal. Once you have ascertained that it is the sun that is causing your allergic reaction, you may prevent it in the future.
Sun Allergy Prevention