A sun allergy is an allergic reaction to the sun. There are two main types of sun allergies: solar urticaria and polymorphous light eruption. Solar urticaria is a type of sun allergy that causes the development of hives or welts on the skin after exposure to the sun. The polymorphous light eruption is a type of sun allergy that causes a rash on the skin after exposure to the sun. Sun allergies are more common in women than in men, and they are more common in people with fair skin.
The exact cause of sun poisoning is unknown. However, they may happen due to genetic and environmental factors. Sun allergies are more common in people with a family history of allergies. Sun allergies are also more common in people who live in sunny climates.
Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing a sun allergy. These include:
- Having fair skin: People with fair skin are more likely to develop a sun allergy than people with dark skin.
- Having a family history of allergies: Sun allergies are more common in people who have a family history of allergies.
- Living in a sunny climate: Sun allergies are more common in people who live in sunny climates.
- Being a woman: Women are more likely to develop a sun allergy than men.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. They can range from mild to severe, and they may include:
- Hives or welts on the skin
- A red, itchy, or burning rash on the skin
- Blisters on the skin
- Pain or swelling in the affected area
- Peeling or flaking of the skin
Sun allergies can be challenging to diagnose because they can often be confused with other conditions, such as eczema or hives. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and your symptoms to make a diagnosis. They may also recommend having a skin prick test or blood test. A skin prick test is where a small amount of an allergen is placed on the skin, and the skin is subsequently pricked. If you are allergic to the allergen, you will develop a raised, red, itchy bump on the skin. A blood test can also diagnose allergies.
There is no cure, but several treatments can help relieve the symptoms. These include:
- Avoiding sun exposure: The best way to treat a sun allergy is to avoid sun exposure. If you must be in the sun, wear loose-fitting clothing that covers your skin. You should also wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Applying cool compresses: Applying cool compresses to the affected area can help soothe the skin and reduce swelling.
- Taking antihistamines: Taking oral or topical antihistamines can help relieve the itchiness and irritation associated with sun allergies.
- Using corticosteroids: Applying a corticosteroid cream or ointment to the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and irritation.
There are several things that you can do to prevent sun poisoning, including:
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers your skin: Wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers your skin can help protect you from the sun’s rays.
- Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen: Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
- Avoiding sun exposure: Avoiding sun exposure is the best way to prevent a sun allergy. If you must be in the sun, take precautions to protect your skin.
In rare cases, sun poisoning can lead to more severe complications, such as:
- Second-degree burns
- Blistering of the skin
- Scarring of the skin
- Infection of the skin
If you experience any of these complications, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.