If you have a sun allergy or an increased sensitivity to the sun, you can help prevent a reaction by taking these steps:
July 23, 2015
- Limit your time in the sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is brightest.
- Avoid sudden exposure to lots of sunlight. Many people have sun allergy symptoms when they are exposed to more sunlight in the spring or summer. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend outdoors so that your skin cells have time to adapt to sunlight.
- Wear sunglasses and protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats can help protect your skin from sun exposure. Avoid fabrics that are thin or have a loose weave — UV rays can pass through them. You may want to consider wearing clothes specifically designed to block UV rays, which can be found at sporting goods stores.
Apply sunscreen frequently. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- Elmets CA. Polymorphous light eruption. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 2, 2015.
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Polymorphous light eruption. http://www.aocd.org/?page=PolymorphousLightE. Accessed April 2, 2015.
- Elmets CA. Photosensitivity disorders (photodermatoses): Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 2, 2015.
- Elmets CA. Overview of cutaneous photosensitivity: Photobiology, patient evaluation, and photoprotection. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed April 2, 2015.
- O’Gorman SM. Photoaggravated disorders. Dermatologic Clinics. 2014;32:385.
- Photosensitivity reactions. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/skin_disorders/sunlight_and_skin_damage/photosensitivity_reactions.html. Accessed April 2, 2015.
- Mauer MP. Photodermatitis. First consult. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 2, 2015.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2015.
- FDA sheds light on sunscreens. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm258416.htm. Accessed April 21, 2015.
- American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org. Accessed June 23, 2015.