Dermatology Expert Forum
IS IT SUN DAMAGE ?
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This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care. All questions will be answered by a medical professional.

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IS IT SUN DAMAGE ?

ABOUT 10 WEEKS AGO, AFTER FOUR OR FIVE DAYS ON MY BOAT IN SAN DIEGO MY FACE NECK AND HANDS TURNED RED AND ITCHED. AFTER 2 WEEKS I SAW A DERMATOLOGIST WHO SUSPECTED AN ALLERGIC REACTION POSSIBLY A COMBINATION OF SUN AND SUNSCREEN. I USE THIS SAME EUCARIN FACIAL SPF 30 DAILY AS AFTERSHAVE SINCE I LIVE IN ARIZONA. HE PRESCRIBED 2.5% CORTISONE WHICH DID NOTHING. AFTER A FEW WEEKS THE PROBLEM WAS ALMOST TOTALLY GONE. I WENT BACK TO THE BOAT AND THE PROBLEM STARTED AGAIN,ALTHOUGH I  COVER UP, HAT AND LONG SLEEVES. THIS TIME THE DERMATOLOGIST GAVE ME A CREAM-TRIAMCINOLONE ACETONIDE .1% AND SUGGESTED 20 MG PREDNISONE,3 A DAY FOR 7 DAYS, 2 A DAY FOR 7 DAYS, 1 A DAY FOR 7 DAYS. I WONDER IF PREDNISONE ISN'T LIKE USING A CANNON TO KILL A FLY, AND ALSO WONDER IF THE DIAGNOSIS IS CORRECT SINCE MY ARMS HAVE NOW BECOME RED AND ITCHING. THE ARMS WERE NOT PREVIOUSLY INVOLVED BUT WHEN THEY STARTED TO ITCH I TRIED BABY OIL TO RELIEVE THE DRYNESS AND THAT SEEMED TO MAKE IT WORSE.  I NOW HAVE SOME SPOTS (RASH) ON MY STOMACH (NEVER IN SUN). ANYRATE I HAVE JUST STARTED THE PREDNISONE. SINCE I AM 71  MAYBE THE YEARS OF SUN EXPOSURE ARE FINALLY CATCHING UP ? THOUGH I HAVE BEEN PRETTY CAREFUL. I WAS ALLERGY PRONE (RESPIRATORY) BUT USE NASONEX DAILY WITH GREAT SUCCESS. ANY IDEAS OR SUGGESTIONS ?
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242489_tn?1210500813
I think you may have polymorphous light eruption.  Don't be impressed--it's pretty common and annoying but not serious.  This condition starts at some point (no reason, like all allergies), and represents an allergic reaction to the ultraviolet rays that mostly aren't blocked by sunscreen (UVA).  It gets milder the more you're exposed in any given sun season.  It isn't reated to any other allergy. Try a UVA sunblock (there are lots) and an antihistamine (Benadryl, Claritin.)  Also see you dermatologist about confirming this diagnosis by exam or blood tests, if needed.  I agree that prednisone is strong.  If I'm right about the diagnosis, you won't need it again.  Go and find out.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
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