Tuesday, July 12

How to Recognize and prevent sun allergies

Although no one is actually allergic to the sun, some people are extremely sensitive to various types of sun rays and may experience mild to severe reactions after spending time in the sun.

There are various sorts of "sun allergies," but one of the most frequent is polymorphous light eruption (PMLE), an autoimmune disorder in the skin that occurs after sun exposure. Solar urticaria (hives and reddish patches that commonly appear 30 minutes to two hours after sun exposure), actinic prurigo (papules and nodules that are very itchy on sun-exposed skin areas), and photoallergic reaction are also called sun allergies (when the UV rays from the sun modify the chemical structure of medications or products applied to the skin, and a person develops an allergy to the newly modified substance).

What factors contribute to PMLE?

People with PMLE have immune cells that are activated by sun rays and assault their skin, causing a skin reaction to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

PMLE accounts for 70% of all sun-induced skin eruptions. It can affect both sexes and all skin types, and it commonly begins in adolescence or young adulthood. PMLE could be a hereditary disorder. Other risk factors include being a female, having pale skin, and residing in the north.

PMLE is more prevalent in young women living in temperate areas. People in temperate climates spend the entire winter out of the sun, so when the weather warms up, the sun exposure is intense. People who live in warmer climates are desensitized since they are exposed to more sunlight all year.

What does PMLE look like?

PMLE can appear several hours or days after the first significant sunshine exposure of the season, which is common in the spring or early summer. The sections of the body most commonly affected are those that are covered in the winter but not in the summer: the neck, chest, and outer parts of the arms.

People with PMLE commonly notice reddish areas on their skin after being exposed to the sun. These lesions may itch, burn, or sting, but they rarely leave a scar. In more severe cases, the patches cover the majority of the body and may be accompanied by headaches, fevers, fatigue, and low blood pressure. (If you encounter these symptoms, seek an assessment from an urgent care provider.) A dermatologist is the best expert to evaluate and treat your skin issue if you suspect you have PMLE or any sun allergy.

Does PMLE improve over time?

PMLE lesions typically heal in 10 days, and it is critical to limit sun exposure until you are recovered. During the spring and summer months, those who develop PMLE might feel substantial discomfort and have their lives negatively impacted. However, repeated sun exposure can reduce the likelihood of PMLE occurring. The skin lesions that develop after the initial episode are referred to as having a "hardening effect," which makes them less severe and more tolerable during subsequent episodes.

What are the most recent treatments for sun allergies, including PMLE?

Preventing sun exposure is the best treatment. Avoid direct sunlight from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and wear UV-protective clothing or clothing made of darker and thicker fabrics, as these will block UV rays from reaching your skin. Wide-brimmed hats shield your scalp, face, and (partially) neck.

Even on cloudy days, wear broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen to your face and any exposed skin that isn't protected by a hat or clothing. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and more frequently if you're swimming or sweating (water-resistant sunscreen should also be reapplied).

If you get PMLE, the affected areas of the skin can be treated with steroid creams. In severe circumstances, your doctor may advise you to take steroid medications for a brief period of time. Because PMLE is an autoimmune illness, medications that suppress the immune system, such as azathioprine, are alternatives for treatment (the body is attacking it is own healthy cells).

Antihistamines are allergy drugs that may help lessen the duration of reddish patches that itch or burn, as well as reduce inflammation.

Hydroxychloroquine (a malaria medicine) can be used to treat flare-ups or as a preventative measure when people travel to sunny places during winter vacations.

Oral Polypodium leucotomos extract, a natural product obtained from tropical fern leaves, may function as a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory characteristics that can help prevent PMLE. Other lycopene and beta-carotene (vitamin A derivatives) containing dietary supplements have a comparable effect. A dermatologist will advise you on how to utilize these medications most effectively.

In conclusion

Sun allergies are widespread in temperate climates, but they can be treated throughout the year with the help of a dermatologist, vigilant sun protection, and medications.

Photo by Viktorya Sergeeva ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿซ‚: https://www.pexels.com/photo/women-having-a-picnic-8759233/

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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