What is sun allergy? See symptoms, types and treatments

It may not seem true, but there are several people who are allergic to the sun, which is nothing more than a reaction of the immune system when the skin is exposed to sunlight. The cause of this allergy is not yet known, but there are several forms of prevention and you will know all of them later.


What is?

When we expose ourselves to the sun without the necessary protections and at times not recommended, we are subject to several complications, from a burn to a skin cancer . But have you ever thought that, in addition to these options, you may also have a certain type of allergy caused by sunlight? Yes, just the light that provides the synthesis of vitamin D in our body and produces hormones related to our well-being.

But how do I know if I have an allergy to the sun?  Often, the symptoms of allergy are manifested on the skin with characteristics very similar to a burn, that is, the skin appears reddish and, sometimes, it may come with an itch. In addition, allergy to the sun can also manifest itself through various skin rashes present throughout the body, presenting pus in some cases.

Types of sun allergy

Currently, allergy to the sun can be divided into two types: exogenous and endogenous.

Exogenous allergy

Exogenous allergy occurs when certain substances come into contact with the skin and, when exposed to sunlight, can cause an allergic reaction, such as:

  • Cosmetics;
  • Cleaning product residues;
  • Pollen from some plants.

In addition to these, phototoxic substances can also cause allergy, such as:

  • Components of certain types of medication;
  • Some types of legumes that carry the phototoxic substance ksantinola.

Endogenous allergy

This type of allergy is intrinsically related to some metabolic diseases, causing the person to be immunodeficient, which can be caused by:

  • Metabolic porphyrin compounds that lead to the accumulation of porphyrins in the skin;
  • Melanin exchange failure;
  • Malfunction of the immune system.

The causes of sun allergy

The cause for this type of allergy is not yet certain. According to specialists in skin diseases, it can be caused by genetic factors, in which the person is sensitive to the UV rays emitted by the sun, or it can be triggered by the use of certain types of medications, such as antibiotics .

Groups and risk factors

Allergy to the sun can manifest itself in anyone of any age. However, due to skin genetics, it is more common in fair-skinned people, with a higher incidence in women. In addition, there are other factors that can cause this allergic reaction:

  • Exposure to certain substances: the most common responsible substances for this type of allergy are fragrances, disinfectants or even some chemical used in sunscreens.
  • Use of certain medications: antibiotics, tetracycline , sulfa drugs.
  • Having another skin disease: for example dermatitis.
  • Having relatives who are allergic to the sun: you will have a greater chance of being allergic to the sun if you have someone in the family who also has this condition.

Symptoms of sun allergy

The symptoms of allergy to the sun can be very similar to those of a sunburn. However, allergy patients can be classified into 4 groups, where each one has a different symptom from the other, and which are manifested in places that are not protected from UV rays, such as on the hands and the “V” of the neck.

Photoallergic skin rash

The most frequent of the symptoms , the rash mainly affects women between 20 and 35 years old. The allergy is manifested by small red rashes accompanied by intense itching.

Polymorphous eruption

Less frequent than the rash, the polymorphic rash can affect both women and men. In this case, red itchy blisters and blisters appear on certain parts of the body, such as the neck, face, limbs and behind the ear.

Solar urticaria

Solar urticaria manifests itself with a few minutes of exposure to the sun and is characterized by a rosacea plaque on the skin that affects the entire body. When it extends to the respiratory mucosa and throat, it can quickly suffocate the patient.


Photosensitization occurs through rashes or reddened vesicles that contain a lot of itching, and it happens as a result of contact with photosensitizing agents, such as medicines, medicinal plants and cosmetics.

What is the diagnosis?

Often the symptoms of allergy to the sun disappear on their own, some people do not bother to go to a specialist and check the condition. However, a medical consultation in these cases is of great importance, as only he can tell you if the manifestation of the allergy is serious or not. In cases of allergic reactions to UV rays, you should consult with a dermatologist, a doctor specializing in skin diseases.

The diagnosis, in most cases, is made through clinical analysis of the skin and questions that the doctor may ask, such as when and under what circumstances the symptoms started. When the diagnosis is not fully understood, some tests can be requested:

  • Ultraviolet (UV) light test;
  • Test to identify spots caused by sunlight;
  • Bloodtests;
  • Analysis of skin samples.

What is the treatment in cases of allergy to the sun? And prevention, how does it happen?

In most cases, the best treatment for sun allergy is prevention. For this, some tips are very important:

  • Do not expose yourself to sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm;
  • Avoid staying too much in the sun, especially if you are passionate about summer, the beach and tan;
  • Wear sunglasses and protective clothing, preferably that contain UV blockers in your composition;
  • Always use sunscreen.

In more severe cases of allergy, some remedies may be prescribed, in addition to phototherapy.

Medicines for sun allergy

For the most severe cases of allergy, doctors prescribe the oral use of some antihistamine and the application of ointments based on cortisone , as they have a repairing effect on the dermis and fight the itching caused by skin rashes.


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Home remedies for sun allergy

For those who prefer the use of alternative remedies, the tip is to increase the intake of foods that have large amounts of carotenoids, such as tomatoes, carrots and melons, and foods that are rich in vitamins C and E, such as citrus fruits.

It is estimated that 5 to 10% of the world population suffers from allergy to the sun. And even though the disease is not so common for most people, it is necessary to have knowledge about it, as well as the forms of treatment and prevention. Share this article and spread the information to your friends and acquaintances.