Skin Reactions That Follow Sun Exposure

Various types of photodermatitis are frequently found and photodermatitis is a form of allergic reactions in which the allergens get activated by the light to synthesize the allergic response. Sun exposure usually follow these skin reactions.

1. Solar Urticaria

Solar Urticaria is a rare type of allergy that is triggered by exposing the skin of a susceptible individual to the sunlight. It primarily affects the elderly and appears on the skin within minutes after the exposure to the sun. It occurs when the sunlight leads to the release of histamine from the cells in the skin, which are known as mast cells. Solar urticaria is categorized into two types, type 1 with photo allergens unique to the patient and type 2 in which the patients produce antibodies against the normal components of the irritated cells. It is characterized as red marks or white/red weals on the skin, and these effects can be visible on both sun-exposed and covered skin areas. The main symptoms of this type of allergy include itching, burning, stinging, and sometimes rashes are accompanied by low blood pressure, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

2. Polymorphic light eruption

Polymorphic light eruption belongs to the idiopathic photodermatosis, and it is one of the common skin reaction that is followed by skin exposure. Many individuals are affected by this allergy, and it is often described as a sun allergy or toxic sun reaction. It can take around twenty minutes to an hour of strong exposure to trigger the rash. The symptoms of polymorphic light eruption are characterized as reddened skin with red spots or small blisters, which are generally itchy, uncomfortable. Individuals can feel sore and burn, and the most affected areas include the face, neck, arms, and hands. Sunlight contains various types of radiations, and polymorphic light eruption can be a cause of ultraviolet light and visible light. This type of allergy can come up even when the light has passed through the window glass or after exposure to fluorescent lighting. The majority of patients who suffer from this allergy notice skin lesions during early summers or spring, and it can appear hours to days following ultraviolet radiation.

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3. Hydroa Vacciniforme

Hydroa Vacciniforme(HV) is an extremely rare type of photosensitivity that usually begins in the early years of life. It is a chronic photodermatitis type skin condition that generally onsets in childhood, and the rash appears in the summer or the spring months, and exposure to sun triggers the rash. According to the studies, girls are more likely to be affected by this type of allergy as compared to boys. Hydroa Vacciniforme is characterized by the erythematous papules and plaques that develop on exposed areas, and the most affected areas of the body include the nose, cheeks, dorsa of hands, and the tip of ears. In serious cases, it can result in the damage of the ears, nose and distal phalanges and an extreme case, corneal lesions may appear, which can lead to an impaired vision. Symptoms such as a headache, fever, and malaise can appear in severe cases. All those who suffer from Hydroa Vacciniforme should always take some precautions to reduce the effect of this allergy. It can be done by avoiding exposure to the ultraviolet rays and by adopting a high sun protection factor.

4. Actinic Prurigo

It is another type of rare skin disorder that is triggered by the photosensitivity. The exact cause of the development of this skin disorder is still unknown, but numerous studies suggest that it can be a result of an allergic reactions proteins that are altered by the sunlight in the individual who has inherited certain genes. It is usually characterized by the presence of exudative cheilitis, and the erythematous plaques become excoriated. An affected individual may experience severe itching and painful inflammation on the exposed skin. Cheeks, neck, ears, and arms are the most affected areas, and covered areas such as buttocks may also get affected. Usually, symptoms of actinic prurigo get worse during the summer and the spring months as during that time the Ultraviolet rays are powerful. Currently, there is no cure for actinic prurigo, but by taking some measures, one can prevent its occurrence. Avoiding sunlight exposure is essential, and protecting the skin from clothing can help.

These are some rare types of allergies that are triggered by the sunlight and taking preventive measures is very important to prevent the occurrence of the allergies. The best measure is to avoid exposure to sun but at the same time, it is recommended to add a diet that is good source of Vitamin D as sun is the best source of vitamin for the body and strictly avoiding sunlight can reduce the level of Vitamin D. Also, Share this post with your family and friends and create awareness.


Tags: sun allergyphotodermatitissolar urticaria

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.