Sun allergy is a condition in which you have a hypersensitivity to sunlight. Patients with this condition often experience rashes when their skin comes into contact with ultraviolet radiation. At the same time, you may also have eczema, a type of allergic skin condition. Sun allergies can directly cause eczema, but it can also worsen pre-existing rashes. Minor allergy symptoms can be prevented when you remove yourself from exposure to allergens, but sun allergies often require ongoing medical treatment to reduce the risk of reactions.
Sun Allergy Causes
Sun allergies occur when your skin cells produce an adverse reaction to ultraviolet ray exposure. This reaction is caused by changes in the immune system that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. In some cases, indoor lamps can cause adverse skin reactions too. Your chances of being allergic to sunlight increase if the condition runs in your family.
Eczema and Increased Risk
Eczema, a type of atopic dermatitis, is classified as a type of allergy-related skin reaction that cause red, itchy and inflamed patchy rashes. Atopic eczema is often aggravated when you com into contact with substances and irritants you're allergic to. Having a type of preexisting type of dermatitis like eczema increases your risk of sun sensitivity. At the same time, if you have sun allergies, then exposure will likely aggravate your rashes. Water and excessive heat or dryness are all among the many factors that can worsen eczema.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Sun allergy can be difficult to self-diagnose, because the rash looks similar to other types of skin conditions. Your doctor may test for sun sensitivity through a combination of biopsies, blood samples, photopatches and ultraviolet exams. UV tests are particularly helpful, because they utilize ultraviolet lamps to determine how your skin reacts to the sun. A common treatment for sun allergy is through these lamps, in which the wavelengths are increased overtime to help your skin become accustomed to UV rays. Other treatments for sun allergy include a combination of corticosteroid creams to relieve skin inflammation, as well as oral antihistamines to reduce the onset of sun exposure reactions.
Avoid the sun to protect yourself against allergic reactions. If rashes only occur on certain body parts, you may be able to enjoy moderate sunlight so long as those parts are covered. Heat associated with sun exposure may aggravate and worsen eczema. Limit your time in the sun during peak hours of the day, and ask your doctor for recommendations for exposure. Sun exposure may not be recommended for if you are currently undergoing treatment.