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When you go out in the sun with your friends, do you find that within an hour or less your skin starts to bother you? No one else seems to be affected, yet your skin is turning red, beginning to itch, and you can start to feel a gradual pain coming on and getting stronger. You may have a sun allergy. Here are helpful facts and tips for preventing it.
A sun allergy is a term that is used to describe a wide variety of skin conditions that occur on account of exposure to sunlight. Sun poisoning is the most common form of sun allergy.
The symptoms of sun allergy can vary. Common symptoms include redness, itching, pain, bumps, scaling, bleeding, blisters, and hives. Symptoms of sun allergy can occur within minutes to hours after sun exposure.
The causes of sun allergy vary. Some people have a hereditary disposition to sun allergy. Sun allergy can also be caused by medications or exposure to certain plants such as parsnips or limes.
The are several risk factors for sun allergy. Race is the most common risk factor. Though anyone can have it, sun allergy occurs mostly in Caucasians. Medications and certain substances such as fragrances, cleaning products, and even sunscreens can trigger a skin reaction when you are exposed to the sun. And having another skin condition such as dermatitis will increase your risk of having a sun allergy.
Yes. If you feel you have a sun allergy or if you have any questions about your skin or if it has been more than a year since your last check up, you should see your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can diagnose whether or not you have a sun allergy by examining your skin. If needed, your dermatologist can run tests on your skin and recommend medications and therapeutic treatments.
If you have a sun allergy, you can take measures to prevent it. First, stay out of the sun. When you need to be in the sun, try to be in it from the morning until 10am and then from 3pm until the end of the day. For most activities that you want to do, there are enough morning and afternoon hours for you to enjoy without having to expose yourself to the most harmful hours of the sun, 10am to 3pm. Second, cover up. Wear protective clothing and sunglasses. Be sure to cover your head, nose, and neck with wide-brimmed hats and head and neck wear. Keeping the sun off your skin will both protect your skin and keep you cooler, less sweaty, and more comfortable. And third, for areas of your skin that you cannot cover up, frequently apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
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