There are many types of allergies, and the allergens that cause the condition to develop are various. If you would like to know whether you are allergic to any kind of substances, you can take a special blood test in a laboratory and then make an appointment with a specialist.
You could also notice that your body shows a certain reaction when you are exposed to a particular kind of allergen. For example, if you see that your skin gets red and starts itching after you have spent some time in the sun, you may have a sun allergy.
Types of sun allergies
Being allergic to sunlight comes in different forms and shapes, but all these types include a skin reaction to direct sunlight.
Here are the most common sun allergies:
- Polymorphous light eruption (an autoimmune skin disease)Actinic prurigo (nodules and papules that itch a lot)
- Solar urticaria (hives and patches of red color after spending up to 2 hours in the sun)
- Photoallergic reaction (a reaction to substances applied to the skin after being exposed to UV rays)
Out of these conditions, the polymorphous light eruption is most prevalent. People that are especially subject to having this type of allergy are women and those who live in the north. Also, the fairer skin is, the higher the chances that a person would suffer from PMLE.
How to understand you have PMLE
If, after spending some time in the sun, you notice that you have red patches that cause a disturbing feeling (like stinging, burning, or itching), especially in the areas that are normally protected from sunlight in winter (chest, neck, back areas, etc.), it is likely that you are affected by PMLE. Sometimes people suffering from the condition also experience headaches and fevers and also report low blood pressure.
To be absolutely sure you have a polymorphous light eruption, consult a dermatologist who can evaluate your skin condition.
How to treat sun allergies
The best way to treat sun allergies is to stay away from direct sunlight, especially in the hours when it is most intense. Do not forget to apply and reapply sunscreens and make sure you use the suitable level of UV and UA protection. Wearing clothes of dark colors and thinker materials can also help to avoid developing the condition.
There are still some ways to prevent sun allergies:
- Antihistamines can bring relief if the skin has inflammation.
- Steroid creams or pills deal with the immune system directly and help the body to stop attacking its own healthy cells.
- Hydroxychloroquine is a medication that is recommended for those traveling to sunny places in the winter if the PMLE condition worsens.
- Food supplements with an antioxidant effect.