Is It Possible to Have a Sun Allergy?

During the early spring or when the skin hasn’t seen the sun for a long period of time, it is common to experience a skin reaction to the sun. While sunburns are common, so is another sun-induced skin condition called Polymorphous Light Eruption or PLE. PLE is not the same as sunburn, and often presents itself on those who are sensitive to ultraviolet light. It is a form of photdermatosis that is characterized by an itchy rash with tiny red bumps or raised patches of skin. It can easily be mistaken for hives or eczema.

While juvenile spring eruption is a variant of PLE, true polymorphic light eruption will repeatedly occur in people who are sensitive to the sun. It can occur anywhere on the body, but likely to develop on the chest, neck and arms. PLE is not harmful nor infectious, but it can be quite uncomfortable for those who suffer.

Symptoms of PLE

Polymorphous light eruption can occur in varying degrees, from a mild rash that develops after hours in the sun to a severe rash after just minutes under UV rays. While you may find that the PLE rash eventually goes away on its own, it is common for the rash to return after the first incident.

In more severe cases, a PLE rash can involve fluid-filled blisters. An eruption may last up to two weeks but typically heals without scarring. However, it is important that you avoid sunlight to the area while it heals. Not going outside or covering the rash with UV-protectant clothing is best.

Treating Sun Allergies

Sun allergies can include any type of reaction or sensitivity to sun exposure. Since each person’s skin type is unique, it is best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to prevent PLE and other sun-related skin conditions. You may need to use a certain sunscreen or avoid sun exposure altogether while taking specific types of medication. If you have already experienced a PLE rash, you may relieve symptoms by applying a cold compress, taking anti-histamines or pain relievers or simply leaving them alone. More severe cases should be treated by a physician.

If hours in the sun backfire to produce an itchy, red bumpy rash on your chest and arms, you may have polymorphous light eruption (PMLE). Contact Olansky Dermatology Associates today to ensure you can enjoy time outdoors this spring without uncomfortable skin reactions.

Posted on behalf of Olansky Dermatology & Aesthetics