Many are currently talking about sun allergy – hardly anyone has it. At least not to the extent that the designation as a real allergy should be assigned. Because that which manifests itself in very different symptoms, for example as pimples, pustules, nodules or wheals, often, but not necessarily, itches, is often “only” one thing: an inflammation of the Highcaused by sunlight.
Sun allergy or intolerance? There are these forms
“A widespread form of this intolerance,” said the Munich dermatologist Dr. Elisabeth Schuhmacher, “is the polymorphic light eruption, PLD for short. About every fifth person suffers from it. ”With PLD, the skin reacts particularly to the décolleté, shoulders, neck and inside of the arms through UVA radiation. “The rays have less energy than UVB, but penetrate much deeper into the skin,” explains Dr. Tamara Steinhauer, researcher at Nivea. New studies from Eucerin also show that the defense mechanisms of the cells of PLD sufferers are impaired so that the skin can no longer ward off free radicals. As a result, the immune system raises the alarm and the overreaction manifests itself as a rash, itching and inflammation.
However, the causes of a so-called sun allergy are often far less clear. The most prominent example: Mallorca acne. A sub-form of the PLD, in which small, firm nodules and pustules form under the skin. What exactly causes Mallorca acne is still puzzled. Plants, perfumes and cosmetics are suspected, which in combination with UV rays lead to unpleasant skin changes.
Photoallergic reaction: these are the symptoms and causes of the light rash
In addition to Mallorca acne, there are numerous other forms of light rash. One is the photoallergic reaction. Dr. Schumachers: “From a medical point of view, it is actually a real allergy, since in this case specific IgE antibodies can be detected in the blood.” The symptoms are redness, itching, blisters, crusts and flaking. The triggers? They could favor certain medications, such as antidepressants. However, this special form of “sun allergy” is rare!
Other suspects are where you wouldn’t actually suspect them: in the sunscreen itself. Fragrances and certain UV filters such as the light-sensitizing octocrylene and all filters with the -cinnamate ending seem to be problematic. In contrast, physical UV filters such as zinc oxides and titanium dioxide (e.g. from Ultrasun and SkinCeuticals) are considered to be significantly more compatible with the skin.
Other known triggers of “sun allergy” are drugs. In particular, taking common preparations should not be underestimated. St. John’s wort, ibuprofen or doxycycline (a broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribed for middle ear and urinary tract infections) can further increase the sensitivity of the skin to light. “This phototoxic reaction increases the risk of sunburn,” warns dermatologist Dr. Schumacher.
Sun allergy: what really helps
The question remains, what helps with a sun allergy? Into the shadows, that’s obvious. Also the note that the most effective way to relieve itching is with ointments containing cortisol. However, only if absolutely necessary, and never in the long term, since cortisol damages the skin’s duration, among other things by making it thinner. A natural alternative to the urge to scratch is lavender oil. The best thing is of course not to let it get that far, so prevent it.
Dermatologists recommend antioxidants such as Vitamin C, vitamin E and panthenol. The latter has anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C acts as a radical scavenger in the body, protects the skin from micro-inflammation, while vitamin E supports wound healing of damaged skin areas. Such active ingredients are also increasingly found in Sun protection. Eucerin has now developed a special “Sun Allergy Protect” line that contains plant-based antioxidants: alpha-glucosylrutin and licochalcone A, highly effective flavonoids that reduce oxidative stress on healthy and affected skin. Reduce stress? Sounds like a good summer plan anyway.
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