+380 (97) 976 00 31

What is sun allergy and how to live with it?


Today, I want to tell you about sun allergy, its manifestations, and ways to deal with this unpleasant condition. Solar allergy, or photodermatitis, is a pathological reaction of the skin to exposure to ultraviolet rays. In people with this allergy, even a short exposure to the sun can cause serious skin reactions that lead to significant discomfort and a deterioration in quality of life.

This condition is becoming more and more common and requires attention from both specialists and patients themselves to prevent complications and take proper care of the skin.

What does sun allergy look like?

Sun allergy can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms that are often confused with other skin conditions. The main symptoms include redness of the skin, itching and burning, small blisters or rashes, flaking of the skin, and swelling of the affected areas.

These symptoms usually appear a few hours after exposure to sunlight and can persist for several days, causing considerable inconvenience. In severe cases, blistering and severe swelling may occur, which may require medical intervention.

Redness of the skin is often accompanied by itching and burning, which can cause the urge to scratch the affected areas, which in turn can lead to infection and deterioration. The appearance of small blisters or rashes may resemble hives or eczema, making it difficult to self-diagnose and treat. Peeling of the skin occurs as it recovers and may be accompanied by discomfort and aesthetic inconvenience. Swelling of the affected areas can be both mild and severe, making it difficult to carry out daily activities and requiring additional skin care measures.

Види алергії на сонце

There are several types of sun allergy.

Photoallergic dermatitis is a skin reaction to the interaction of ultraviolet rays and certain substances, such as cosmetics or medications. This condition can occur after using new skin care products or taking medications that increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

Polymorphic light rash is the most common form of sun allergy and manifests itself as a rash after the first strong sun exposure of the year. This form of allergy often occurs in the spring or early summer, when the skin is not yet adapted to solar radiation after the winter period. Symptoms can range from a mild rash to significant rashes that cause itching and discomfort.

Actinic prurigo is a hereditary disease characterized by the appearance of itchy rashes, often in children and adolescents. This condition can be especially severe in childhood and requires a special approach to treatment and prevention. Symptoms of actinic prurigo can include the formation of nodules and plaques on the skin that are very itchy and can leave scars when scratched.

Causes of sun allergy

The causes of sun allergies can vary. The main ones include genetic predisposition, reduced immunity, and the presence of substances in the body that can cause allergic reactions under the influence of the sun (photosensitizers). The development of allergies can also be influenced by the use of certain medications, such as antibiotics and contraceptives, as well as the use of cosmetics containing alcohols, fragrances, and other substances that increase sensitivity to the sun.

Genetic predisposition plays a significant role in the development of sun allergy. If one of your family members had or has sun allergy, you are much more likely to develop it. Decreased immunity also contributes to increased sensitivity of the skin to solar radiation. This can occur as a result of chronic illness, stress, or an unhealthy lifestyle.

The presence of photosensitizers in the body, substances that increase the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation, is one of the main causes of sun allergy. Such substances can be found in medicines, food, cosmetics, and even plants. Examples include tetracyclines, thiazides, some antidepressants, and citrus oils.

Diagnosis of solar allergy

Diagnosis of sun allergy involves several stages.

  • First, the doctor takes anamnesis and examines the patient’s skin. It is important to determine when and under what conditions the symptoms appeared, whether new cosmetics or medications were used.
  • Next, photo tests can be performed, which consist of irradiating small areas of skin with ultraviolet rays and then observing the reaction. These tests help to determine the exact cause and type of sun allergy.
  • In some cases, blood tests and skin samples may be required to rule out other allergic diseases. Blood tests can show the presence of specific antibodies that indicate an allergic reaction, and skin tests can help identify possible allergens that cause photodermatitis.

This comprehensive approach makes it possible to accurately determine the cause and type of allergy, which is necessary for effective treatment and prevention.

When do I need to see a doctor?

It is necessary to consult a doctor if you have a severe reaction to the sun, accompanied by a severe rash, swelling, and pain. A specialist consultation is also recommended if symptoms of sun allergy appear after taking new medications or using new cosmetics. If the symptoms do not go away within a few days and continue to worsen, be sure to seek medical attention. Your doctor will be able to prescribe adequate treatment and help you avoid complications.

A timely visit to a doctor is especially important in case of symptoms such as severe swelling, blisters or blisters, fever, and general deterioration in health. These signs may indicate a serious allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. In addition, chronic or recurrent cases of sun allergy require a detailed examination and constant monitoring by a specialist.

Ways to relieve sun allergy symptoms

There are several methods to relieve the symptoms of sun allergy. The use of antihistamines in the form of tablets or ointments helps to reduce itching and inflammation. These drugs block the action of histamine, the substance that causes an allergic reaction. The use of corticosteroid ointments can reduce inflammation and discomfort. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that quickly relieve allergy symptoms.

Cold compresses can relieve swelling and pain, and moisturizers can help restore the skin. Cold compresses reduce blood flow to the affected areas and reduce inflammation, while moisturizers help restore the skin’s protective barrier and prevent drying and flaking. It is also important to avoid sun exposure and wear protective clothing to minimize contact with UV rays. Wearing lightweight but tight clothing, hats, and sunglasses can help protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

In some cases, more serious measures, such as systemic corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs, may be recommended, but such treatments should be prescribed only by a doctor and used under his or her supervision.


To prevent sun allergies, it is recommended to gradually increase the time spent in the sun so that the skin adapts to ultraviolet radiation. Using sunscreens with a high SPF level helps protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Wearing protective clothing, hats, and glasses is also an effective method of prevention. Avoid the use of cosmetics and medications that increase sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation. Supporting the immune system through proper nutrition and vitamin intake also plays an important role in preventing sun allergies.

In addition, it is important to choose high-quality sunscreens that do not contain potentially allergenic components. Regular moisturizing of the skin and the use of hypoallergenic skin care products help maintain its health and resistance to external influences. Attentive attitude to your health and timely visit to a doctor at the first symptoms of sun allergy will help to avoid serious complications and keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that sun allergy is an unpleasant but manageable condition. Proper skin care and taking precautions will help you enjoy sunny days without discomfort. If you have symptoms of sun allergy, do not delay your visit to the doctor. The health of your skin is in your hands!

is sun allergy and how to live with it?

Start your journey to beauty today!

author Anastasiia Yuriiivna Lysenko

Higher category. Graduated from Irkutsk State Medical University in 1997, Faculty of Medicine. Specialising in dermatovenereology since 1999.

Write to us

    Thank you
    for your appeal!
    We have received your Message
    and will contact you soon.
    Your opinion is important to us!