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Many people have no idea that it is possible to develop sun allergies. They know that the sun can harm the skin if a person gets too much sun, but there are also sun allergies that can negatively impact your life. Keep reading to get answers to common questions about these types of allergies, and then contact Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group at 805-658-9500 to make an appointment with an experienced allergist.
Itchy, red rashes. For some people, it only takes a few minutes in the sun to develop this rash. For people with particularly bad cases, the rash can turn into welts and/or blisters. Once exposure to the sun is over, the symptoms can clear up in minutes or take hours to go away.
They can occur anywhere on a person’s body that was exposed to the sun. However, the most common areas are around or on the neck, the back of the hands, arms, and legs. In extreme cases, the rash could move to areas that have not been exposed to the sun.
There is no medical reason for it. It seems that the underlying mechanisms that cause sun allergies also cause other allergies. Simply put, when the skin reacts to the sun, for some people, this causes the immune system to see the sun’s rays as a foreign intruder, and histamine and antibodies are launched – which leads to inflammation. While this mechanism is understood, the purpose is not clear.
It is true that a sun allergy can cause some of the same types of skin irritation as other allergies and even heat rash. That said, other rashes happen without sunlight exposure. Sun allergies only happen right after direct exposure to the sun. Further, if the issue is a sun allergy, then the skin returns to normal within minutes or hours of the end of the sun exposure.
There are steps you can take to prevent or minimize the symptoms caused by skin allergies, but the allergy itself cannot be treated. We recommend staying inside during the sunniest parts of the day and wearing protective clothing and/or sunscreen each time you go out in the sun.
We also recommend comprehensive allergy skin testing so that we can be sure that it is a sun allergy and not something else. If you would like to get tested and find out what you are most likely dealing with, contact Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group at 805-658-9500 for help.