Dr Bassett on Summer Sun Allergy: Prevention and TreatmentToday, I’d like to discuss preventing and treating of summer sun allergies.

Overview of Sun Allergies

Some individuals have had sun allergy symptoms since childhood and others develop these symptoms later on in life due to a variety of things associated with sunlight exposure.

Sun allergy is actually a true immune system event that’s responsible for a variety of skin rashes and blisters on generally sun-exposed areas, such as the neck or upper chest.

Photo-Allergic and Contact Dermatitis

A photo-allergic or contact dermatitis occurs when the skin reacts with a chemical such as a sunscreen or fragrance as an example.

Common Solar Skin Allergies

The most common type of solar skin allergy is polymorphous light eruption, otherwise known as PMLE, and occurs in as many as 1 in 10 Americans. Adult women are more commonly affected with this condition. It often kicks off each spring and may even go dormant during the wintertime thought to be due to lower ultraviolet light exposure.

Solar Allergy Symptoms

Solar allergy symptoms often develop about 24-48 hours after exposure to the offending agent. In office allergy skin patch tests are very helpful in identifying the cause or trigger. There are a variety of oral medications such as antibiotics, aspirin, NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and other pills that may trigger sun related skin reactions.

In solar urticaria, the onset of hives may be seen quickly yet fade over a few hours. In any case, avoidance of direct sunlight and a good sun block agent reduces the likelihood of symptoms and the likelihood of a reaction. Topical steroid creams are also used and prescribed for sun-provoked reactions of the skin. Severe episodes often require stronger medications including the use of oral corticosteroid pills.

For more information, please visit About.com.