Allergy to the sun

Health Tips

With the onset of warm sunny days, thousands of people rush to nature, closer to water bodies, go to rest on the sea, in hot exotic countries. The sun’s rays not only warm us with their warmth in the spring and summer and delight us in winter, but also help strengthen immunity. But unfortunately some people stay in the open sun may cause an allergic reaction.

Therefore, it is very important not to confuse the onset of this disease with an allergy to other irritants, so as not to avoid many wonderful moments in life by hiding in the shadows.

What is sun allergy?

Allergy in the sun or solar dermatitis (photodermatitis, photodermatosis) is not at all a rare occurrence. Statistics show that about 20% of people around the world experience this disease.

By themselves, the sun’s rays are not allergens, the problem is most often in substances that are contained in the skin or on the skin.

How does sun allergy manifest itself?

Solar dermatitis can manifest itself in different ways. People with a particularly strong reaction to the sun’s rays suffer at their first appearance. Less sensitive, but also suffering from this ailment, need to spend more time in the sun for an allergic reaction to develop. But for both, physical discomfort from being outdoors on sunny days is guaranteed.

Symptoms of solar dermatitis, as mentioned above, can be easily confused with symptoms of other allergic irritants:

  • first there is redness,
  • the skin is covered with a red rash,
  • edema is formed
  • there is itching and burning,
  • in some cases, small pustular rashes appear.

Sometimes an allergy to the sun also manifests itself due to additional exposure to other irritants. For example, the combination of sunlight with plant pollen, the smell of chlorine, which is treated with pools, or certain drugs.

Causes of allergies

The causes of this disease can be very different. And often the culprits of such a reaction to the sun of their body are the people themselves, especially those who are trying hard to relax on vacation in hot countries. Too long unprotected exposure to the open sun, huge doses of ultraviolet rays activate all the body’s defenses for the production of melanin pigment, which inevitably leads to impaired function of the kidneys and adrenal glands.

Any allergy is provoked by factors such as lack of vitamins in the body, reduced immunity, impaired functioning of internal organs and metabolism, latent and chronic diseases. Therefore, when the first external symptoms appear, be sure to pay attention to the general state of health.

In the event that the cause of the disease was precisely a violation of the body, an allergy to the sun is called endogenous photodermatitis. And in case of provoking the disease by external signs – exogenous.

The cause of exogenous (external) photodermatitis may be the presence on the skin of some cosmetics, which contain chemicals that, under the influence of sunlight, poison the body and cause an allergic reaction with all the unpleasant symptoms.

If in the composition of your perfume, cream and even in a special suntan there are components such as salicylic, boric and para-aminobenzoic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, mercury preparations, retinoids and natural essential oils – it is better to refuse them during sun exposure.

And tanning products should be completely replaced with safer ones. By the way, it is also better to refuse the use of lipstick, which contains the substance eosin.

Risk group

Particularly prone to the appearance of photodermatosis also include:

  • people with naturally fair skin,
  • pregnant women,
  • Small children
  • and those who abuse solariums.
  • in addition, an allergic reaction from exposure to the sun can also develop in those who performed cosmetic procedures with the use of cadmium salts the day before (tattoo, chemical peeling).


There are substances that, when taken orally, can provoke an allergic reaction to the sun. Call them sensitizers. This group of substances includes certain drugs and certain foods.

Food phototoxic products include all types citrus fruits. Therefore, before going to the beach, you should not eat oranges, tangerines or grapefruits. Drops of juice from these fruits remaining on the surface of the skin can also cause swelling, redness and itching. And the more active the sun, the more acute will be the reaction of the body.

Various medications are also dangerous, for example:

  • antibacterial drugs,
  • antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline,
  • drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases,
  • ibuprofen,
  • aspirin,
  • group of antidepressants
  • tranquilizers,
  • diuretics,
  • as well as oral contraceptives with a high content of estrogen.

Therefore, before going on vacation to sunny countries or before the start of the hot summer period, be sure to consult a doctor if you or your loved ones are taking any of the above medications.

Sun allergy: prevention and treatment

The following simple rules will help to avoid the manifestation of an allergic reaction of the body to the sun, as well as mitigate the first symptoms that appear.


  • the first sunbathing sessions should not exceed 20 minutes: do not use decorative cosmetics and cosmetics before going to the beach. Substances contained in them can provoke an allergic reaction;
  • when choosing a protective cream, pay attention to the content of the SPF filter – it must protect against two ultraviolet spectra – UVB and UVA and have a protection level above 20;
  • apply protective creams and suntan lotions to the skin 30-20 minutes before going out into the open sun;
  • when leaving the water, try to immediately wipe yourself dry – droplets of water in the sun act on the surface of the skin like many small lenses, thereby injuring it;
  • if you are taking medications marked “may cause hypersensitivity to ultraviolet radiation”, before the onset of a hot period or going on vacation, if possible and after consulting a doctor, replace these drugs with similar ones, or rest only in the shade;
  • include in your diet foods rich in vitamins B and E and antioxidants that help skin regeneration. Especially useful are berries and fresh fruits, pomegranate, currants, blueberries, as well as cocoa, green tea and red wine.

If, nevertheless, you have been subjected to this ailment, do not despair, solar dermatitis, as a rule, manifests itself once and, like any other disease, it can be successfully cured.

To relieve burning and itching of the skin, apply ointments containing zinc, lanolin, methyluracil. You can take anti-inflammatory drugs such as indomethacin by mouth.

From traditional medicine, applying circles of fresh cucumber, potatoes or cabbage leaves will do a good job with this task.

But most importantly, at the first sign allergic reaction in the sun, you should definitely consult a doctor. He will determine what caused the disease: internal disorders of body functions or external factors, and prescribe competent treatment.


Allergy to the sun is not as scary as it might seem, but it can easily ruin a summer vacation or a long-awaited vacation. Therefore, to prevent allergies, try to follow the recommendations and not spend too much time in the open sun.

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