Dermatology Expert Forum
sun sensitive skin
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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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sun sensitive skin

After an hour or more in the sun, the exposed area of my skin will feel like it is on fire.  The longer the exposure, the more severe the feeling.  Longer exposures will leave the exposed areas feeling like someone is holding a match to it.  For example, while wearing gloves over my hands and a short sleeved shirt, I spent several hours in the sun.  Later in the day, the symptons started to appear on the exposed portion of my arms.  When running luke warm water over my hands I allowed the water to run up my arms,  As it water reached the exposed areas, it felt scolding hot.  The only relief is to apply cool materials (water, ice, etc.) to the area or increased air flow over the areas exposed.  With severe exposure there is some slight swelling in addition to the severe buring sensation.  However, there is no physical signs of burning, itching, discoloration, or any other physcial symptoms.  As a matter of fact, the exposed areas tan evenly and well.  Though sun screens provide moderate protection, it is not enough.  The only prevention is to avoid exposure to the sun.  This condition has lasted over thirty years.  When it was first discovered while I was a child, we visited several doctors, dermatoligist and even several clinics.  No success.  Please advise.
Related Discussions
242489_tn?1210500813
It sounds to me like polymorphous light eruption (PMLE for short), a sun allergy to the long waves of ultraviolet light not blocked by sunscreen.  I am reasonably sure that the dermatologists you saw made this diagnosis.  Treatment is difficult--some times antihistamines help block it a bit, sunscreens containing physical agents like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide may help, and sometimes light treatments to sensitize the skin can be useful.  Please see a dermatologist familiar with this condition for proper diagnosis and treatment--perhaps an academic medical center in your area, if there is one.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
im 18 and realy tan but i dont tan in tanning beds i tan realy easily i lay out, i dont burn i think in my whole life i may have burnt 2 times i never wear sunscreen well i do on my face but thats it, i usually use a tanning accelerater when im outside.  i was just on vacation in venezuela and now i have all these patched os white dots all over me, my back is litterally ruined by these dots, my but, my back thighs, my arms, my chest are all covered.  it  makes me furious.  i have a similar patch or white spots on my arm that i have had for years.  i have always had a great golden skin tone and no bumps, blemishes or anything, my back was perfect now i look like a 90 year old sun damaged woman or something...HELP
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, legs and arm sting from being in the sun was started.
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