Sun Allergy or Photosensitivity (the medical term is Polymorphous Light Eruption) is our immune system’s reaction to sunlight. This allergy causes an itchy rash or hives that appear on any skin that has been exposed to the sun even for just a few minutes. This condition can also be triggered by exposure to artificial ultraviolet rays. That itchy or burning rash appears within hours or up to 2 to 3 days after exposure to sunlight and lasts for up to 2 weeks. But it heals without scarring. The rash can appear on the head, neck, chest, and arms as these are the parts that are usually exposed to the sun. The face is not always affected.
The polymorphic light eruption is thought to affect about 10% to 15% of the UK population (source: NHS, UK). It is more common in women than men and particularly affects people who have white skin. Although it can also affect people of color especially if they have sensitive skin. The polymorphic light eruption is not hereditary as per NHS and is not infectious either. So do not worry about transferring it to anyone.
Mallorca Acne is another form of sun allergy that looks like acne but is actually infected zits. It can happen due to the intensity of sunlight or from certain skincare products, particularly oil emulsifying cleansers.
Certain medications like antibiotics can also affect our skin and cause photoallergic reactions.
Tips to control sun allergy
- The first thing is to avoid going out in the sun between 11 am to 3 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Always wear protective clothing to cover your skin as much as possible.
- Always apply sunscreens with high SPF against UVA and UVB rays. I trust brands like Avene, Bioderma, La Roche Posay, etc. who have a specialized range for reactive skin.
- Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours if you’re out in the sun.
- Keep your skin moisturized at all times. You should also try to use after-sun care products that are specially formulated for calming the skin after it is exposed to the sun. If you want to keep it natural, you may apply aloe vera for the calming effect or choose products with aloe vera as the key ingredient.
- Stay hydrated! Always drink and eat your water and by that, I mean foods rich in water content e.g. watermelon, melon, etc.
- Include more calcium and zinc in your diet.
Until next time, Ashh xo
*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Opinions are my own and unbiased.