Allergy to the sun

We have been hearing more and more frequently lately about allergic reactions to the sun. For people with more sensitive skin and short sun exposure, it can stimulate the immune system's response. For other allergies, the body responds to an allergen found in the environment such as dust or pollen, and in the sun, the allergy occurs due to natural changes that occur on the skin after tanning.

The skin is changed after sunbathing, so the immune system identifies it as a foreign body and fights it. Most often, the allergy occurs in the form of a rash or small bubbles that can affect a small part of the body, and in extreme cases, a larger one.

Almost 20 percent of people are allergic to the sun, and many people do not even know they are suffering from a sun allergy but think their skin is sunburned. In some people, the reverse is that they think they are allergic to the sun, and in fact their skin has responded to an agent they have smeared on their skin or the medicines they have taken. Then redness and burning of the skin, peeling of the skin and blistering may occur.

After exposure to the sun, the onset of allergies may occur several hours after sunbathing. In the evening, blisters or redness will appear and the skin may itch. If the allergy is a polyform light eruption, the rash will look like you have been bitten by an insect. Without treatment, the allergy can take up to two weeks.

People who are prone to sun allergies should prepare their skin by taking beta-carotene before summer, and people with itchy rash should use oral antihistamine and treat the rash with steroid surface cream. Anti-itching agents are often used to relieve the discomfort.

If the allergic reaction is recurrent and severe, be sure to tell your doctor so that he or she can prescribe your treatment and each reaction should be withdrawn after a few days. To reduce the onset of allergies, avoid the sun in the afternoon, drink plenty of liquid and regularly and abundantly protect yourself with high sun protection creams.

Author: S. G., Photo: Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs / Shutterstock

Mayo Clinic Minute: Sun allergies (November 2020)