Risk factors for having an allergic reaction to sunlight depend on your particular condition. These include:

  • Race. Anyone can have a sun allergy, but certain sun allergies are most common in people of certain racial backgrounds. For example, the most common type of sun allergy (polymorphic light eruption) occurs mostly in Caucasians. A less common but more severe variety of sun allergy is most common in Native Americans.
  • Exposure to certain substances. Some skin allergy symptoms are triggered when your skin is exposed to a certain substance and then to sunlight. Some common substances responsible for this type of reaction include fragrances, disinfectants and even certain chemicals used in sunscreens.
  • Taking certain medications. A number of medications can make the skin sunburn more quickly — including tetracycline antibiotics, sulfa-based drugs and pain relievers such as ketoprofen.
  • Having another skin condition. Having atopic dermatitis or another type of dermatitis increases your risk of having a sun allergy.
  • Having relatives with a sun allergy. You're more likely to have a sun allergy if you have a sibling or parent with a sun allergy.
Aug. 28, 2012