Sun allergy – what is it (and how to prevent it)
Harvard Health describes sun allergy as an allergic reaction to the sun. The most common signs of sun allergy is an itchy red rash or blotchy skin. In severe reactions, sun allergy can produce hives and blisters. Sun allergy from exposed areas can also spread to other parts of the body that are clothed.
The most vulnerable areas of the body are the ‘V’ of the neck, the back of hands, the shoulders, the arms, and lower legs.
How do you develop sun allergy?
Sun allergies occur as a result of changes to the skin due to overexposure to the sun. The immune system mistakes these changes as ‘foreign’ intervention and triggers the release of hormones to protect the body. This, in turn, creates a chain reaction from the body in the form of a rash, blisters or blotches. Sun allergy or photo dermatitis can also result from antibiotics, chemicals, dyes, sunscreens, and disinfectants. In some cases, extreme sun exposure can trigger lupus.
How to recognise sun allergy symptoms
If you have been out in the sun with no or inadequate sun protection, you could become susceptible to sun allergy. Everyone can get an allergy to the sun. Symptoms can appear minutes to hours later after exposure to the sun. Sun allergy tends to be worse in hotter months but can also occur during cloudy skies and in winter.
Sun allergy symptoms or ‘sun poisoning’ vary depending on the severity of the condition. Here are some common symptoms of sun allergy:
- Itchy or burning rash on sun-exposed parts of the body.
- Chills, headaches, nausea, and malaise (or a general sick feeling)
- Red plaques (raised flat areas), blisters and bleeding under the skin (in extreme or rare cases)
How to treat sun allergy
For mild symptoms either apply cool compression (for example, a cool, damp washcloth or towel) to the affected areas. You can also put some cool water into a spray bottle and mist the affected skin. Off-the-counter antihistamines and corticosteroid creams can relieve itching and swelling.
For severe sunburns, consult the advice of a doctor.
How to prevent sun allergy with sun-smart clothing
To reduce sun allergy risks, consider wearing sun protection clothing. Good quality sun protective wear is made of a special fabric with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). UPF refers to the amount of UV rays the fabric can absorb. The more the fabric absorbs, the lower the risk of sun allergy to the skin.
Sun protection clothing like SParms has the highest UPF 50+ rating awarded by ARPANSA. A 50+ UPF rating in sun-safe wear means that the fabric can absorb over 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Made of lightweight and quick-drying material, they are suitable to wear during sports, for work or when you are outdoors.
Sun protection wear comes in many forms from full shirts, to sleeves to shoulder wraps and leg wraps.
Here is a description of each type of sun protection clothing:
Sun sleeves are easy slip-on protection for exposed arms. They are worn by every major sport in the world including golf, basketball, soccer, tennis, cycling, and running. Their flexibility makes them the ideal choice to wear with sports uniforms.
SParms sun sleeves have been worn in the arms of past and current LPGA champions. You can read about our sports endorsements here
Sun shawl or sun shoulder wraps
If you are looking to protect sensitive shoulder areas as well as arms then a sun shawl or sun shoulder wrap is the best choice. A well-designed sun shoulder wrap should be non-slip and non-bunching.
Sun shirts offer effective protection from neck to waist. They are popular sports and active wear for both men and women. SParms sun shirts combine superior UPF50+ sun protection with classic Italian styling. If you haven’t worn one before, you will be surprised how light and comfortable they feel in the heat.
Sun shirts are suitable for all types of outdoor sports as well as outdoor recreation like jogging, running, and bush walking.
Your legs can also burn when exposed to the sun. Sun legs designed with wide grippers to prevent slippage.
Sun clothing is one of five recommended sun safety measures to take if you want to minimise the risk of skin cancers.
For more information on SParms sun clothing range, please read here
Sun safety is what we are about. SParms range of sun shirts, sun sleeves, and sun shoulder wraps is an effective way to minimise the risk of sun allergy when you are out and about in the sun.
SP arms Team,
This is for information purposes only, always consult your medical professional