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Dermatological (Skin-related) Allergic Reaction to the Sun?
Here's some things to help

If I am in direct sunlight for too long, my skin will react by breaking out in a rash of red, burning bumps. They sorta itch/sorta burn. It's very unsightly and hurts a great deal. After talking to my Dermatologist about this, I found out I've developed an allergy to the sun. It apparently happens in a lot of people, and, as in my case, can only first appear well into adulthood. Here's some things I've found to help prevent - and help relieve - the symptoms.

1) Wear long sleeves and hats when possible. (sucks I know - at a feels like temp of about 110F who wants long sleeves? - but it really does help. Covering up the skin prevents the problem in the first place)

2) When outside, wear sunscreen - another duh factor - but NEVER apply it to an area already affected says my Dermatologist. If you do, it can actually make things worse. Wait until the reaction calms down before re-applying anything to the area.

3) Don't use any specialty soaps/bath gels/etc. For example, I've been using Bath & Body Work's Pearberry shower gel for several years. Love the smell, love the way it gets good and foamy, and love the way it leaves my skin feeling...problem is, that when you have a sun allergy, that other things are famous for triggering the actual rash/bumps/reaction. So...even though I had used it for the better part of three years, I had to stop. (it did help). My dermatologist suggested Aquanil or another SOAP FREE cleaner. (Glycerin-based cleansers are best she said)

4) Try taking an allergy pill like Claritin (Rx only) when the symptoms are at their worst since it can help suppress the actual skin reaction. Additionally, she gave me an Rx Hydrocortisone cream that helps a rash/outbreak/reaction.

5) When all else fails and it's bugging you to apply a cold compress. It can help the symptoms if nothing else.

To be honest, I've done all this and it went away for awhile, but it seems to be coming back. (what's weird is that I've been in Florida almost 16yrs and while I've ALWAYS burned VERY easily, I've never had a reaction like this until recently). It can and does just kinda happen. I wish I could suggest more - or a more efficient way of making it go away for good - but the best I can say is keep trying to see what works for you.

*Also check out the article, "Allergic to the Sun? You're not Alone" for more medical information.


Preventing Skin Disorders

An estimated 3% to 10% of travelers experience some skin problem related to their trip, particularly when traveling to tropical and subtropical areas. Everyone should avoid episodes of excessive sun exposure, particularly during the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM when sunlight pours down 80% of its daily dose of damaging ultraviolet radiation. Reflective surfaces, such as water, sand, concrete, and white-painted areas should be avoided. Clouds and haze are not protective. High altitudes increase the risk for burning in shorter times compared to sea level and low altitudes. Sunscreens and sunblocks, used generously, are important, but they should not be relied on for complete protection. Wearing sun-protective clothing is equally important and protects even better than sunscreens. Everyone, including children, should wear hats with wide brims.

Overexposure to the sun is the most common problem, but other skin disorder may also develop. Berloque dermatitis resembles sunburn but is caused by a sunlight reaction to chemicals in certain tropical fruits. Botfly eggs implanted into the skin by mosquitoes cause cutaneous myiasis. The affected area has a small hole and becomes prickly and swollen. Hikers are at increased risk for insect bites from ants, spiders, or fleas, which can causing itching, burning, and red bumps. A number of fungal infections can occur in warm and damp climates, such as sporotrichosis (causes ulcerated areas), tinea nigra (causes the palms and soles to darken), and piedra (causes stony bumps on the hair shaft). Creeping eruption is a particularly unpleasant skin disorder caused by larvae from dog and cat feces deposited on beaches. The larvae cause red, fluid-filled bumps that usually create a continuous track as it moves under the skin. It is treated with oral medications.





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