Photosensitivity reactions also known as solar allergy are those important and abnormal clinical pictures produced, triggered or aggravated by exposure to light, generally solar. Unlike phototoxia , the skin overreacts and not only reproduces an increase in hue, but also eczema lesions, blistering, etc. appear. There is also drug-induced photosensitivity. Also indexed as: Sensitivity to Light, Sensitivity to Sunlight .
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- 1 Features
- 2 Symptoms and treatment of sun allergies
- 3 Polymorphic Light Eruption (ELP)
- 4 Actinic prurigo
- 5 Photoallergic rash
- 6 Solar urticaria
- 1 How is it treated?
- 2 Nutritional supplements that may be beneficial
- 3 Changes in diet that may be beneficial
- 4 Changes in lifestyle that may be beneficial
- 7 Sources
Photosensitive people have an immune response to light, usually sunlight. Sunlight commonly causes skin rashes; The degree of exposure required to provoke a reaction varies from person to person. Several diseases, such as erythropoietic protoporphyria and polymorphic eruptions caused by light, share the symptoms of hypersensitivity to light, and also, in general, the problem is caused by sunlight.
They occur when skin exposed to the sun reacts abnormally to sunlight. Scientists are still not able to understand the exact reason for its appearance, although some research indicates heredity as one of its reasons. The most common explanation is that the immune system treats the skin in the altered sun as foreign substances and activates its defense mechanism against it, causing allergic reactions.
Symptoms and treatment of sun allergies
There are mainly four types of sun allergies. Sun allergy symptoms and treatments depend on the type of sun allergy, as a consequence of the sun allergy are skin symptoms: rashes, eczema and hives.
Symptoms may include a red or pink rash on the skin, with reddened blisters, scaly skin, or swollen areas in areas exposed to direct sunlight. The affected area may cause itching or burning, and the rash may last for several days. In some people, the reaction to light slows down as subsequent exposures occur.
Polymorphic Light Eruption (ELP)
Symptoms of ELP is an itchy or burning skin rash, in the form of red patches or small fluid-filled blisters, which may bleed on the break, on skin exposed to the sun. It occurs within a couple of hours after sun exposure, and sometimes perhaps accompanied by chills, headache, or nausea. It usually occurs on the exposed parts of the neck, upper chest, arms, and legs. They tend to go away on their own in a couple of days, but for some people it keeps re-producing every spring and summer, resulting in decreased skin sensitivity to sunlight.
A mild reaction can be treated using an application of cold compresses or sterilization of the skin with cold water at frequent intervals. The most severe or hardened allergy is treated through medications such as an oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine, or any cortisone against the skin rash contained in the cream. For extreme cases, doctors often prescribe a photo therapy treatment, where the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light little by little, in small and frequent doses to build resistance of the skin to the sun. Sometimes a combination of psoralen and ultraviolet light, anti-malarial drugs, or beta-carotene tablets is also used to treat ELP sun allergy.
This form of sun allergy is an inherited form of ELP. Since its nature is hereditary, it begins early in life during childhood or adolescence. They share symptoms similar to the form of ELP, but the rash occurs more on the face than anywhere else. It occurs again in spring and summer, while in tropical climates it persists throughout the year. Actinic sun allergy prurigo is treated with medications containing steroids, thalidomide, antimalarial drugs, beta-carotene and UV, depending on the severity of the allergy.
Chemical or substance present in the application that is used on the skin, such as sunscreens, perfumes, cosmetics or ointments and even some prescribed medications. The skin reacts and produces small red spots or fluid-filled blisters. It can also spread through clothing, which covers the infected area. Most of the time, these symptoms appear after 2 to 3 days of sun exposure. The duration of the photo allergic rash depends on the duration of the particular chemical used. The most common treatment prescribed by the doctor, other than corticosteroid cream, is to find and eliminate the products that cause allergies.
This rare form of allergy is considered to be the only true form of allergy to the sun. Hives occur in the affected parts of the skin. It presents the symptoms in a matter of minutes of exposure to sunlight, and if the hives form individually, they disappear in a couple of hours. It is treated as by its severity. For mild allergies, oral antihistamines or an anti-itch skin cream containing cortisone is prescribed. For severe symptoms, a combination of psoralen light and ultraviolet radiation, antimalarial drugs, or beta-carotene pills are used for your treatment.
Some over-the-counter medications such as vitamin E, aloe vera, and quercetin (flavonoids) may prove helpful in the treatment and cure of sun allergies. In addition to these, preventive measures such as the use of good quality and high SPF sun protection and sun protection equipment, should be used regularly. Exposure to sunlight cannot be avoided, but a few simple precautions taken can save us the agony of dealing with sunburn and skin rashes.
How is it treated?
Over-the-counter beta carotene supplements can reduce the intensity of reactions. A prescription medicine, hydroxichloroquine (Plaquenil®), can help reduce the severity of reactions. Oral corticosteroids such as triamcinolone (Aristocort®, Kenalog®), betamethasone (Valisone®, Diprosone®) and fluocinonide (Lidex®) are also often prescribed to clear the rash once it occurs. In some cases psoralens, such as trioxsalen (Trisoralen®), and ultraviolet light therapy are administered for several weeks to prevent photosensitivity. Other treatments include avoiding direct sunlight and using sunscreen. Additionally, patients should avoid medications and substances known to cause photosensitivity.
Nutritional supplements that may be beneficial
- Beta carotene: Large doses of beta carotene (up to 300,000 IU daily for at least several months) have allowed people with photosensitivity to be exposed to sunlight for much longer periods than they could tolerate without treatment. The protective effect appears to be the result of beta carotene’s ability to protect the body against damage to free radicals caused by sunlight.
Diet changes that may be beneficial
- Alcohol: One of the diseases that can trigger a photosensitivity episode, cutaneous porphyria delays, has been related to alcohol consumption. People with this form of porphyria should avoid alcohol.
Lifestyle changes that may be beneficial
- Sun exposure: People with photosensitivity should use filters and sunscreen, protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts) and avoid excessive exposure to the sun.