Types of Sun Allergies

Sun allergy, also known as photo-sensitivity is a reaction of the immune system, which is caused by sunlight sensitivity. It develops when the skin exposed to sunlight reacts abnormally. The definite cause of this occurrence is still not known, but some studies reveal that it is caused as a result of inheritance. There are four main types of sun allergies that usually affect a person. Let us know about those types in detail in the following article.

Types of sun allergies include: sun allergies

Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE)

This type of sun allergy is characterized by burning or an itchy skin rash, as tiny fluid filled blisters or red plaques, that bleed intensively on rupture. This allergy usually occurs within a couple of hours after getting exposed to sunlight. It accompanies headache, chills and nausea. The itchy skin rash occurs on areas of upper chest, neck, lower legs and arms. These symptoms tend to disappear in a couple of days, but in some people, they recur every summer and spring. This therefore results in reduced skin sensitivity to sunlight. It is treated according to the severity of allergy.

  • Applying cold compress or sprinkling cold water on the affected skin areas is helpful if the reaction is mild.
  • Medications like oral antihistamines and cortisone containing anti-rash skin creams helps to treat the severe reaction.
  • For the most severe cases, physicians use photo therapy treatment by which skin’s resistance to sun is built.

Actinic Prurigo
This type of sun allergy is an inherited form of PMLE. Since it is inheritable, it starts during childhood or early adolescence of a person. The symptoms are almost similar as that of PMLE but, the itchy rash develops more on the face. In tropical climates, this allergy persists throughout the year and recurs in summers and springs.

Medications which contain corticosteroids, antimalarial drugs, thalidomide and beta carotene are used for treating this type of sun allergy.

Photoallergic Eruption
This type of sun allergy occurs when the skin reacts with the chemical component present in the applications used on skin like fragrances, sunscreens, ointments or cosmetics when exposed to sun. There develops fluid dilled blisters or tiny red rashes on exposure. This form of allergy can spread through clothing and symptoms remain for 2 – 3 days of exposure to sun.

Corticosteroid cream is the most commonly prescribed medication to eliminate this type of sun allergy.

Solar Urticaria
This is considered to be the true form of sun allergy and is a very rare type. It causes hives on the exposed parts within a few minutes of sunlight exposure. The hives that form individually will fade away within a couple of hours. This form of allergy is treated according to the severity.

  • For mild reaction, oral antihistamines or cortisone containing anti itch skin ointment helps.
  • For severe reaction, antimalarial drugs and beta carotene containing medications help.

These are the types of sun allergies

Certain over the counter medications like aloe vera, quercetin and vitamin E are proved to be helpful in treating any type of sun allergies. You need to use a high quality sunscreen lotion to prevent any of the sun allergies. Also, one should avoid excess exposure to sunlight.

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