You can avoid sun rash altogether, and you should!
Sun rash (solar dermatitis) is a form of allergic reaction to the sun that causes itching or a rash after sunbathing. Sun rash develops much more quickly than sunburn.
Blisters and swellings
Solar dermatitis can manifest as red areas with small swellings and blisters, or just as itching. It occurs immediately or a few hours after exposure to the sun.
The skin will gradually tolerate more of the sun after acclimatising with shorter periods of exposure and using sunscreen with a higher SPF. This is why many people often experience sun rash in the early part of the summer.
The problem occurs most often in young people but may also appear for the first time in older people.
Redness, swelling, blisters and itching are the most characteristic symptoms of sun rash. However, there is wide variation in how sun rash manifests in different people.
Last up to a week
Once you have had sun rash, the next outbreak will look the same. It is likely to last for up to a week and will go away of its own accord if you stay out of the sun.
It does not tend to affect the face, but usually the V-area of the chest, arms, legs and neck – in other words, areas exposed to the sun.
Sun rash can be seen as an allergy to sunlight, and in that case it is important to give the skin chance to rest so it can recover. Use a high-SPF sunscreen, wear clothing that covers the affected area and avoid the sun when it is strongest.
Once the rash has cleared, you can gradually start to expose your skin to the sun again so that in time it becomes more tolerant.
Hydrocortisone cream will reduce eczema, and is often used together with Antihistamines to reduce the itching as much as possible. These preparations can be bought without a prescription at a pharmacy.
Aloe vera and cooling creams can also be good alternatives to alleviate skin discomfort.
If the rash does not improve, contact a doctor to find out if there could be another cause for the rash.
Facts about solar dermatitis
- Sun rash occurs immediately or a few hours after exposure to the sun.
- It is a form of allergy to the sun, and can be avoided by protecting the skin from strong sunlight.
- It can manifest as red areas with small swellings and blisters, or just as itching.
- It is possible to accustom the skin to gradually tolerate more sun.
- A high SPF will also provide protection