Summer Sun Allergy: Prevention and Treatment

Sun Allergies Treatments

If the rash has already developed, treatment will depend on the specific type of sun allergy.

Polymorphous light (PML) eruption is the most common light-induced skin disease. Individual patients tend to develop the same type and pattern of outbreak each year. Lesions usually heal without scarring.

Most people with PML eruption have flares each summer for many years; a few have temporary remissions. The disease may begin at any age.

PMLE For mild symptoms, apply cool compresses on the itchy rash, or mist your skin with sprays of cool water. You can also try a nonprescription oral antihistamine to relieve itching, or a cream containing cortisone. For more severe symptoms, your doctor may suggest a prescription-strength oral antihistamine or corticosteroid cream.

If these remedies are not effective, your doctor may prescribe phototherapy, a treatment that produces hardening by gradually exposing your skin to increasing doses of ultraviolet light. Note that phototherapy is not available everywhere, it is time consuming and must be repeated every spring. If standard phototherapy fails, your doctor may try beta-carotene tablets or antimalarial drugs.

Actinic prurigo (hereditary PMLE) Treatment options include prescription-strength corticosteroids, thalidomide, PUVA, antimalarial drugs and beta-carotene.

  • Photoallergic eruption: The first step is to eliminate the medication or skincare product that is triggering the allergic reaction. Skin symptoms usually can be treated with a corticosteroid cream.
  • Solar urticaria For mild hives, you can try a nonprescription oral antihistamine to relieve itching, or an anti-itch skin cream containing cortisone. For more severe hives, your doctor may suggest a prescription-strength antihistamine or corticosteroid cream. In extreme cases, your doctor may prescribe phototherapy, PUVA or antimalarial drugs.

Sun Allergies Prognosis

If you have one of those sun allergies, the outlook is usually very good, especially if you consistently use sunscreens and protective clothing. Most people with PMLE or actinic prurigo improve significantly within five to seven years after diagnosis, and lots of preventive treatments exists so you can enjoy your summer. Almost anyone who suffers from photoallergic eruptions can be cured by avoiding the specific chemical that triggers the sun allergy. Of all the types of sun allergies, solar urticaria is the only one that is likely to be a long-term problem. However, for some people, the condition eventually subsides.

Dr. Larry Jaeger and his group of board certified dermatologists and medical providers are expert in the diagnosis and treatment of all skin, hair and nail disorders and specialize in the practice of medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. They accept all Insurance Plans, HMOs, PPOs as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

Advanced Dermatology Associates | 200 Central Park South – Suite 107, New York City | 1-800-545-SKIN (7546) or (212) 262-2500

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