Itchiness and Bumps Caused by the Sun

Itchiness and bumps through exposure to the sun can test your good mood. Many people who suffer from this think that they are allergic to the sun. However, this is often not the case; actual sun allergy (also known as PMLE) is quite rare and the symptoms usually appear after a day (or even later) and remain for days afterwards.

Sun allergy or not?

If you suffer from sun allergy it is usually at its worst in spring and is often less of a problem through the summer/autumn.

Sunny mood gone!

Most people who have itchiness and bumps are allergic to their sun cream (and, unfortunately, I see this more often) or are ‘the victim’ of an illness with the official name Miliaria rubra or Lichen tropicus. This is a skin disease that appears due to swelling and prickling of the sweat glands (if it is very warm outside). The affected sweat glands become the size of a grain of wheat or become red. Lots of small blisters may be present in the area of the rash. This is accompanied by a slight stinging itch. The rash usually appears on the chest, back, neck, elbows and backs of the knees but doesn’t usually appear on the main part of the face, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to limit this misery:

Avoiding is better than treating…

– Avoid exposure to sunlight and avoid heavy bodily exertion during warm humid weather.

– Try and keep the temperature in the house as low as possible. Wear loose comfortable clothing ( preferably cotton).

– Have a bath or shower regularly and keep your skin clean and dry. The latter is important because sebum can block the sweat glands. Rinse off all residues of soap after the bath or shower.

– Try not to scratch, this can lead to infections and even scars.

– Don’t use oily creams. Over oily creams will hinder the evaporation of the water and make the problem worse.

These tips should help you to have an itch free holiday. Unless, like me, you get eaten alive by the entire native mosquito population of Borneo!

Regards Jetske.

(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read the blogs:
Protect Yourself in the Sun; Apply Properly’,
‘The Search for the Perfect Sun Cream’,
‘And Summer Was Here’,
Travelling and Your Skincare’,
The Battle against Wrinkles; No Time to Waste’,
Brown for a Little Jab’,
Ageing Behind Glass’,