Sun poisoning
Sun Poisoning

Sun Poisoning: Definition, 3 Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Sun Poisoning: Definition, Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment – Sun exposure actually has good benefits for health, especially for those who have vitamin D deficiency. But, You certainly know the importance of keeping the skin out of the sun by always using sunscreen.

The use of sunscreen can also help in preventing the risk of skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use sunscreen with the following criteria:

  • Provides protection from UVA and UVB rays
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Waterproof

However, there are also conditions in which a person can experience sun poisoning. This condition can occur in a handful of people, where abnormal immune reactions occur when exposed to the sun.

What is Sun Poisoning?

Sun poisoning, also known as photodermatitis, is an excessive itching, scaly, redness of the skin when exposed to sunlight and excessive ultraviolet light A (UVA) or B (UVB). The condition takes a few days or longer to subside.

Intensive and repeated exposure to sunlight results in burning skin and increases the risk of other skin damage and certain diseases.

Reddish skin is one of the symptoms of sun poisoning. Basically, sun poisoning is the same as sunburn.

These conditions include dry or wrinkled skin, black spots, rough spots, and skin cancers, such as melanoma.

Sunburn is redness and inflammation of the skin due to too much exposure to sunlight, this can happen to anyone. However, sun poisoning is a type of rash that only some people experience, due to abnormal immune reactions to the sun

The difference is that sun poisoning shows more severe symptoms such as dry or wrinkled skin and black and rough spots.

Sun Poisoning Types

Sun poisoning consists of several types with different symptoms as discussed below.

Solar Urticaria

Common symptoms are red and itchy looking skin. In addition, small bumps were also found on areas of the skin that were exposed to sunlight. This lump looks like an allergy. Other symptoms that can also be found are dizziness, wheezing, and fainting.

Polymorphous Light Eruption

This sun poisoning has severe symptoms where red patches and bumps rise on the affected area of the skin. Symptoms are also more severe than those in solar urticaria. The lumps are usually found in the chest, lower legs, and arms.

Inherited Polymorphous Light Eruption

In this type of sun poisoning, in addition to the above symptoms, sufferers will usually also experience severe headaches and chills. Sufferers may also feel very very tired.

Sun Poisoning Symptoms

Symptoms include red and dry skin. The condition also has blisters and a wavy rash. The rash may be painful or itchy.

Long-term effects are thickening of the skin and the presence of scars as well as an increased risk of skin cancer.

There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you have concerns about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.

Sun Poisoning Causes

The term “sun poisoning” may be a little confusing because it assumes that sun exposure is a toxin that can damage the health of the body. But sun poisoning actually refers to severe burns due to exposure to UV rays coming from the sun.

Sun poisoning itself is actually one form of allergy that can be experienced by anyone. This can happen because of too long sunbathing in the sun, not wearing sunscreen, or perhaps forgetting to take extra precautions especially for those at higher risk of sunburn.

The risk of exposure to sun poisoning can increase, especially for those who:

  • Has white skin
  • Have relatives or family who has skin cancer
  • Taking antibiotics
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • Using certain herbal supplements such as St. John’s wort
  • Suffer from eczema or lupus, which makes the skin more sensitive to light
  • Apply orange oil to the skin before exposure to sunlight
  • Lives in an area close to the equator
  • Located at high altitudes such as mountainous areas
  • Often to the beach because the sunlight reflects more light into the sand and water
  • Uses alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) such as chemical peels

Sun Poisoning Treatment

There are several studies that reveal that aspirin and creams or cortisone ointments (one percent) can help to reduce pain.

But if your skin blisters accompanied by pain or fatigue, you should go to the dermatologist as soon as possible.

If the pain can be tolerated, you can compress the burned part with water or cold milk, rehydrate your body by drinking electrolyte fluids and using non-allergic and non fragrance moisturizing lotions, especially in burns


Last Updated on May 24, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team


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