Itchy Red Bumps from the sun, sunscreen or tanning oil?
by asga, Aug 13, 2010
My friend and I went away on vacation to the Bahamas in February of this year. After the first day of tanning my friend noticed that she had these itchy little red bumps all over her chest and neck areas. I didn't have them. The next day was cooler out so we didn't get much sun. However, I discovered that I too had these itchy red bumps all over my chest, neck and upper arms. These bumps got much worse every morning and the itch decreased just a little bit before 8 pm each night after the application of a lot of makeup.

We tried taking benadryl, cold shower, aloe and all kinds of itch creams from the store they had in the hotel. Nothing worked. Each day for 6 days the rash got worse. The rash spread to other areas (legs, stomach etc.) and became more red and bumpy.

We think it might be from the tanning oil we used?
I have only experienced a minor rash on my hand 7 years ago in florida using and spf 4 sunscreen. She experienced a minor rash in Aruba using the same tanning oil.

We frequently go in the sun and this was the first time this occurred so intensely.

What could this be? How can we cure it? How can we prevent it from happening?
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Member Comments (13)
by Bhupinder Kaur, MDBlank, Aug 17, 2010
Without examination it is very difficult to confirm a diagnosis, but the symptoms are suggestive of prickly heat(malaria) or sweat dermatitis. Prickly heat (miliaria) is an itchy skin rash caused by trapped sweat. It tends to occur on areas of the body where skin touches skin, such as under the breasts, on the inner thighs, and under the arms. Tiny red spots with itching and pricking sensation are the characteristic appearance of this rash.

Avoid using any lotions and creams for the meantime. Use a mild cleanser with moisturizing properties like Cetaphil. Also use cotton clothes and change the clothes twice if there is any increased sweating.Try keeping the skin free of sweat as far as possible. If the symptoms still persist then you can apply mild steroid like dermacort.For the itching antihistaminics like Benadryl or Claritin can be taken.

It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.

by asga, Aug 18, 2010
Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post.

The prickly malaria sounds possible. I also read about contact dermatitus?
We have been in the sun at the beach every weekend this summer and the rash has never returned. I have also been on tropical vacations every March for the last 5 years.
I cannot understand why this time we both got this rash.
The only thing I did differently was use the Banana Boat spf 4 tanning oil.
by asga, Aug 18, 2010
Also, the rash is an area usually the size of my rand that looked raised and red which increased intensely if scratched.
by nae0085, Mar 20, 2011
I got the very same rash.  I am pretty sure it is honestly the banana boat oil.  I've used tanning oil for years, and laid out with or without lotion; yet, never had this reaction to the sun or oil.  The rash started on my arms one day, spread to my legs, neck, and finally stomach.  There really wasn't any way to stay out of the sun because I only have five days in Hawaii, and honestly, I wasn't about to stay in my hotel room..  I finally had to go to the doctor and get a shot and steroid cream.  The rash got really scary! The shot and cream worked though.  Defintely won't be using the product again!
by AndreA793279, Jul 21, 2012
OMG, my daughter and I have the same rash on our shins. She is naturally of much darker skintone than I, so the fact that we both have the same rash in the same place was puzzling. HOWEVER, we both used the banana boat spf 4 tanning oil!

Guess what's goin in the trash?

by jeb2012, Jul 21, 2012
My wife has recently used a banana boat tanning oil as well which is the only thing we can think of that could be causing an itchy red rash that has been spreading and medicine and creams arent working
by maggie958, May 01, 2013
I have the same thing!!! Just used Banana Boat tanning oil the last couple of days and I have an itchy rash on my stomache, chest, the top of my arms, and the top of my thighs. Definitely won't be using their tanning lotion again.

by Melissajaclyn, May 06, 2013
I just used the same banana boat spf 4 oil and same thing. Itchy red bumps a rash on my chest only! I used that oil before but not since last summer when i bought hawiian tropic. I must of used it all in mexico cause i couldnt find it.
I do not have this rash anywhere else and i put the oil on my legs and arms. It is so itchy on my chest :(
by arieshelena, May 07, 2013
That is so weird that banana boat would give red bumps like that! I have the same thing right now my arms and chest are coved and it itches so badly!! I will not be using banana boat anymore!