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Thread: Heat/sunlight allergy

  1. #1
    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    Default Heat/sunlight allergy

    Okay a little background first. I usually have bad allergies. Not food allergies, just typical 'being raped by my sinuses' pollen/dust/etc. allergies.
    Forgive me if I ramble and give more information than needed so I apologize for the long winded post in advance

    I've always be a bit sensitive to heat but not overly sensitive.
    On August 9th I went to the Abbotsford airshow. Most of the day it was raining off and on with the temperature at 15 degrees at the most and very little sun, mostly overcast. I didn't use sunscreen because there was no sun. I come home and I'm a little red, figured it was windburn and thought nothing of it.

    The next day I went back to the airshow as a volunteer from noon till around 5pm. For most of the day it was cloudy out (not overcast, just lots of clouds), and there weren't many times with long periods of time with direct sunlight. It wasn't overly hot either, I'd say the highest it got was 20 to 25 degrees.
    Being the completed dumbass I am, I lost my sunscreen

    When I get home I'm beat fuckin red. I had a bit of heat rash around my hair line, so I just thought it was a typical sunburn....WRONG.
    I woke up the next morning and my forehead was swollen, didn't hurt at all but it looked as if I got fresh botox injections. Over the next few days the swelling sort of moved down my face. The area around my tear-ducts and below my eyebrow were swollen. It finally healed after about a week with the help Hydro cortisone cream. Miraculously and surprisingly there was no scarring.

    My doctor said it was a sunlight allergy. Since I pretty much damaged the skin on my forehead and cheeks I have to wear sunscreen if I spend anymore than 30 minutes in the sun...not hard to do in BC.
    Last week sometime I was running around town with my mother while it was fairly sunny and warm and I got burnt. I spent most of my times either in the car or in a building, and I still got freakin burnt. And now it seems like my skin is extra-sensitive. Even a small amount of concealer makes me break-out

    Has anyone else experienced something like this?
    If you have do you have any sunscreen/make-up recommendations that won't irritate my skin?

    I didn't know if this should go here or in 'Health and Fitness'.

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    Did the doctor call it Polymorphous Light Eruption? That is a sunlight allergy. My husband has it. He gets covered in itchy tiny bumps and underlying pinkish swelling. This will go on for a few weeks. Sunblock #50 is your new friend.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Are you taking any medications that could make you super sensitive to light? My sympathies! Sounds hurtful.
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    ^^ That could be it, my mom takes a high blood pressure med that causes photo sensitivity.There are a lot of meds that do.

    for sunscreen a physical block is less likely to cause an irritation, zinc or titanium dioxide
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    1) UV rays go right through clouds

    2) You spent a large amount of time in those rays over 2 days

    3) You're probably fair skinned to begin with
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    St John's Wort is another one that makes you very light sensitive.

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    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    The doctor* didn't flat out say it was Polymorphous Light Eruption but after reading up on the symptoms I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

    Also with PLE, ibuprofen (which I take regularly) can contribute to it.
    The fact that I had my head up (taking pictures) most of the two days didn't help...an airshow is the only place I know where you can get a sunburn under your nose

    You're probably fair skinned to begin with
    Yup I'm a pasty white girl, joys of having Welsh/Scot ancestry.

    I just find it weird how it came on all of a sudden. I've been sunburned before but have never had this type of reaction. There goes my dream vacation to St. Maarten, I hear Siberia is nice. I have no problem staying out of the sun since i've never really liked the heat.

    *Lets just say my doctor isn't the best. Unfortunately none of the good doctors in my town or the town over are taking patients at the moment so I'm stuck with this guy

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    Quote Originally Posted by L1049 View Post
    The doctor* didn't flat out say it was Polymorphous Light Eruption but after reading up on the symptoms I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

    Also with PLE, ibuprofen (which I take regularly) can contribute to it.
    The fact that I had my head up (taking pictures) most of the two days didn't help...an airshow is the only place I know where you can get a sunburn under your nose


    Yup I'm a pasty white girl, joys of having Welsh/Scot ancestry.

    I just find it weird how it came on all of a sudden. I've been sunburned before but have never had this type of reaction. There goes my dream vacation to St. Maarten, I hear Siberia is nice. I have no problem staying out of the sun since i've never really liked the heat.

    *Lets just say my doctor isn't the best. Unfortunately none of the good doctors in my town or the town over are taking patients at the moment so I'm stuck with this guy
    Yea it's weird, I started to have this condition later on, in my early 30's to now. Before I would just get sunburn, now even after exposure to as little as 5 minutes of sunlight will have me break out in itchy bumps and swelling across my arms, my shoulders and all over my back.

    It usually happens when I have been out of direct sunlight for a while (not hard to do since I work indoors and usually try to stay out of direct sunlight), and then my body just reacts like crazy to that initial sunlight. It takes about 1-2 weeks for it to clear up, but after that my body gets used to the sun and I don't get it unless I stay out of the sun again.

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    Gold Member HockeyRules's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    Yea it's weird, I started to have this condition later on, in my early 30's to now. Before I would just get sunburn, now even after exposure to as little as 5 minutes of sunlight will have me break out in itchy bumps and swelling across my arms, my shoulders and all over my back.

    It usually happens when I have been out of direct sunlight for a while (not hard to do since I work indoors and usually try to stay out of direct sunlight), and then my body just reacts like crazy to that initial sunlight. It takes about 1-2 weeks for it to clear up, but after that my body gets used to the sun and I don't get it unless I stay out of the sun again.
    I am the same way. I get a rash after a minimal amount of time in the sun. I have taken to wearing sun protective clothing and hats because my skin is also very sensitive to sunscreens, lotions, makeup, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    Are you taking any medications that could make you super sensitive to light? My sympathies! Sounds hurtful.
    I used to get a nasty red heat rash when I was on a particular brand of birth control Pill - can't remember the name but it was a low-dose mini Pill.
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    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    I am kind of an expert in this area because I've had to be. I developed something called "cold urticaria" about 7 years ago. I am literally allergic to cold temperatures. When my skin gets cold and then heats up, I get a red, burning, itchy rash. I will also start sneezing. It goes away fairly quickly but if something drastic happens like getting thrown into cold water - I could go into into anaphylactic shock. It's more the act of getting cold and warming up again that brings it on. It's worse in the summer because it's hot outside but inside is usually air-conditioned and that really brings it on.

    For your case L, I would first look at any medications you are taking - RX, OTC or herbals. These may cause interactions with sunlight and give you a rash. I'd also look at what you ate that day and what you used on your skin. I'd also get a full blood screen because rarely, other illnesses may present themselves in this way. It's always best to rule out this stuff so you can move on.

    Obviously, if you find that a medication or substance is contributing to this, stop using it. If you still can't find the cause, the medical community will call it "ideopathic", which means "don't know the cause". Most cases are this.

    If you are going to be in this situation again - you could consider taking an antihistamine prior (always check with your doctor before taking any medication). You can also start taking on a regular basis Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flax oil. The Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) found in flax oil is highly anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent the allergic response by turning off certain biochemical reactions that initiate the release of histamine. You can start at 10,000mg of ALA/day. Vitamin C is also a good natural antihistamine and you can start at 6,000mg./day, splitting the amount between breakfast and dinner time. I take no meds currently, only do the nutritional things and it really helps.

    It sucks to have these wierd things one day, when never having them before. Hopefully your situation can be easily figured out.

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    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
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    I apologize for bumping up this thread but I seem to have developed a weird "side effect" as a result of my burn.

    Where I got burned badly (forehead), there seems to be fine hair growing just below my actual hairline. There was no hair growing there before I got burnt. It's extremely fine, hardly noticeable, and almost like that hair that babies and anorexics get (i'm neither).
    I'm thinking it's just my bodies way of protecting the weaker skin from getting even more damaged, nothing more....but it's still weird.

    Another weird thing is that the area where I burned badly doesn't get red as fast (when exposed to sun) as places where I didn't get burned badly (cheeks, chin, etc.)

    BTW, thanks for the info and advice Quazar

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