Dermatology Expert Forum
Sun Allergy
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Sun Allergy

I realize that sun allergy has been discussed, and I did post a comment, but I have questions ....
Last August, I began to have rashes from sun exposure. They seem to start always on my right forearm as separate bumps.  As I am exposed to sun - small to large rash patches of small bumps appear.  They are extremely itchy, burny when scratched and more itchy when scratched.  They have appeared on my arms, chest, back, neck and legs.  I went to Florida last week and as the days progressed the rash increased. Last year, doctors here prescribed Claritin, Doxepin, Clobetasol, Ultravate and Prednasone.  Of all, the Prednasone works to get rid of the itch for a short time.
Is this a problem for dermatologists or allergists?
The dermatologists I have seen have tried to control the problem, not cure it.  One suggested that my metabolism has simply changed.  Can I change it back?  I realize staying out of the sun is one answer -- but I'm desperate to be with my 5-year-old outside this summer.  Any ideas?
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Debbie:

If you're truly allergic to something, medications help just a little, while avoidance is best.  If cats make you sneeze, for instance, antihistamines will not do nearly as much as staying away from cats or cat dander.

If your skin has begun to refuse to tolerate the long ultraviolet rays of the sun, the best you can do is minimize those rays by using either tightly-woven clothing or hats plus a sunblock which lists UVA protection.  Antihistamines (Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, etc. may also help if you take them every day during sun-exposure season.  These measures help some people a lot, others a little.

What you do depends on how much you like what you're allergic to.  If you love cats, you may decided to put up with some rnny nose.  The same is true for you and the sun.

Best.

Dr. R
11 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I am visiting from Florida in Arizona.  I have a rash just on my left leg mainly that started out as a small red bump.  I have been taking an antihistamine which hasn't cleared it up yet but the bumps seem to be flater but darker.  They do not itch or don't hurt.  Could this be from the sun because I have been laying out and am I doing the right thing by taking an antihistamine?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am visiting from Florida in Arizona. I have a rash just on my left leg mainly that started out as a small red bump. I have been taking an antihistamine which hasn't cleared it up yet but the bumps seem to be flater but darker. They do not itch or don't hurt. Could this be from the sun because I have been laying out and am I doing the right thing by taking an antihistamine?

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Avatar_n_tn
do not take antihistimines and layout in sun possible severe phototoxic reactions can occur.these severe reactions can leave skin hyperpigmented,and depending on depth of burn,can cause skin cancer because of damage due to phototoxic effect,learn about this from medscape.this can occur in as little as a few minutes,while taking antihistimines!
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Avatar_n_tn
I HAVE BEEN GOING TO THE TANNING BED AND HAVE DEVELOPED A RASH WITH EXTREME ITCHING ONLY IN THE PLACES WHERE I HAVE BURNED(MY BACK,BOTTOM,SHOULDERS).THIS HAPPENED LAST YEAR WHEN I GOT A BURN ON MY BACK SWIMMING ONE DAY. SINCE THIS HAS HAPPENED FROM BOTH SUN EXPOSURE AND TANNING BED AM I ALLERGIC TO ULTRAVIOLET RAYS?
I HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM LIKE THIS UNTILL TWO YEARS AGO, WHY NOW? ALSO WHAT CAN I USE TO STOP THIS HORRIBLE ITCHING?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been tanning in the tanning bed. I have sun poisoning on my back and chest. How do i get rid of this??/ HELP  Very Unatractive.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Dr. R,

     Wanted to respond to the comments you made to Debbie regarding sun allergy.

     I am a 40 year old woman who suffers from photosensativity. I have been afflicted with this condition for 20 years!  I tend to get angered easily when someone says to just wear sunscreen. Do you know how tiring it is to be greasey, smelly and stain your clothing?  How about the tightly woven clothing?  It's a humid 90 degrees, who the heck wants to be covered when it's so hot and everyone else is walking around in shorts and tee shirts.
And don't forget the uncomfortable feeling you get being in the sun for 5 minutes.  It is very painful.  I've never been swimming in the ocean with my children because being in the sun for any length of time is too painful.  It is so difficult to do every day things.  Such as driving in the car with the sun beating in, hanging clothes out to dry, washing windows, gardening (which I love), cookouts with no shade, taking a walk on a sunny summer day, etc.  I feel as though I am a prisoner of my home during the summer months.  The rude comments people make because you do not have a tan line.  It's heart breaking.  I have been to family practioners and dermatologists.  No one has been able to help.  I always worry about skin cancer because there are times I force myself to be outside.  I apologize for coming across so strong, but it's discouraging.  Thanks for reading my message and if you have any input, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks again.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too suffer from sun allergies here in California, i started having this problem about 4 years ago when before i could go out in the sun with the barest of bare sunscreen on.  The doctors can not tell me why this has happened to me or what causes it, i have taken everything possible to make it stop happening the only thing that stops my attacks is the combination of allergia, antrax and predinsone, which the doctor almost refuses to give to me i have to beg, plead and cry after i have had a severe attack to get the medicine i need to make the summer even half way enjoyable. There must be some doctor out there that specializes in sun allergies and can explain why this is happening to me and what i can do and take to make it stop happening without compromizing my health to do so by taking the predinsone. As i have ready read in the previous responses sunscreen and staying out of the sun is unrealistic. PLEASE CAN SOMEONE OUT THERE HELP ME?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have read a lot of information on how not to get sun poisoning; but once you have it; what is the best way to treat it?
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Avatar_n_tn
I too suffer from sun allergy which is exremely uncomfortable and distressing during the shirt few months that I experience sunshine. I was always used to sunbathing in my youth and could tolerate the sun very well. I feel my problem started when I got a transfusion of 4 pints of blood after my 3rd child. My family doctor could not treat this allergy with anything other than steroids, which I refuse to use. I went to the Canary Islands on my holidayd one year and developed such a bad reaction to the sun that I had to see a doctor there. He gave me both an intramuscular antihistamine and intraveneous calcium over four days. By the 3rd day the rash had subsided and the itch had gone and I was able to enjoy the rest of my holiday. I have since told numerous doctors about this solution but they all remain unconvinced. Has anyone else used this treatment, please let me know.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too suffer from sun allergy which is exremely uncomfortable and distressing during the shirt few months that I experience sunshine. I was always used to sunbathing in my youth and could tolerate the sun very well. I feel my problem started when I got a transfusion of 4 pints of blood after my 3rd child. My family doctor could not treat this allergy with anything other than steroids, which I refuse to use. I went to the Canary Islands on my holidayd one year and developed such a bad reaction to the sun that I had to see a doctor there. He gave me both an intramuscular antihistamine and intraveneous calcium over four days. By the 3rd day the rash had subsided and the itch had gone and I was able to enjoy the rest of my holiday. I have since told numerous doctors about this solution but they all remain unconvinced. Has anyone else used this treatment, please let me know.
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Avatar_n_tn
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