Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Skin Care and Diseases

Sun poison

08/11/2006

Question:

What Does sun Poison look like ?And is there bumps associoated with sunpoison that sort of looks like acne?

Answer:

There are two reactions that commonly are referred to as "sun poisoning". Both can have bumps that may look like acne.

The first is called Polymorphous Light Eruption. Women are more likely to get this than men. It occurs in susceptible individuals when they are exposed to sunlight that is more intense than usual, for example as in the first time you go out in the sun during the summer or when you expose a body part to sunlight that has no prior sunlight exposure. It may also occur if you travel to a higher latitude or lower latitude such as to a country closer to the equator where the sunlight has more strength.

Normally the resulting skin-rash reaction heals within 7-10 days with no treatment as long as additional sun exposure is avoided. In the future using sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays is mandatory. (Sunlight is made up of UVA and UVB rays). Make sure the sunscreen protects against both UVB and UVA since these protective agents are more effective in preventing these breakouts.

The second is called Solar Urticaria. It is a rare reaction to sun exposure. This is a true sun allergy. It develops rapidly--moments after exposure, the skin begins to itch, and then becomes red. Wheals or vesicles appear-bumps that look like hives. The actual mechanism that causes this reaction is unknown, however, antihistamines are effective in treating the reactions of some patients.

For more information:

Go to the Skin Care and Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Tatiana M Oberyszyn, PhD Tatiana M Oberyszyn, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Associate Professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University