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Surviving Sun Allergy

Surviving Sun Allergy


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Have you ever heard of sun allergy? It sounds far-fetched, but photosensitivity is more common than many realize. It is a phototoxic skin reaction caused by interaction between UV radiation and chemical compounds.1 If you recognize any of the signs and symptoms below, it might be time to consult a dermatologist and start taking some simple precautions.



Photosensitivity doesn’t just refer to a simple sunburn. Symptoms include:2

  • “Polymorphic light eruption” or “sun poisoning”, characterized by bright red bumps or raised patches spreading rapidly across exposed skin areas
  • Blisters or hives
  • In severe cases, scaling, crusting or bleeding


Risk factors

Research studies have not produced much conclusive evidence on why some people experience photosensitivity but not others. However, clear correlations have been established between sun allergy and:

  • Race. Caucasians are most susceptible to “sun poisoning”.2
  • Contact with certain foods. The nasty symptoms mentioned above occur when UV radiation reacts with certain compounds. Some of which can be found in food. Scientists have found that skin contact with lime, celery or parsley before exposure to the sun can significantly increase your risk of a sun allergy — so think twice about that mojito!3
  • Medications. Some medications increase photosensitivity. One common example is tetracycline antibiotics, which is often used to treat acne. When in doubt, always consult your doctor.2

The bottom line is, suffering from a sun allergy shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the great outdoors this summer. However, you should be alert and aware of your condition and take simple measures to reduce your sun exposure. Wearing long-sleeved clothing, slathering on the sunblock and limiting outdoors time to the morning and evenings can go a long way.




  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/beware-of-sunburn-boosters#1. Viewed on 13 Aug 2018.
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sun-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20378077. Viewed on 13 Aug 2018.
  3. https://qsun.co/3-common-foods-that-cause-sun-allergy/. Viewed on 13 Aug 2018.

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Information provided in this article is intended for health and fitness purposes only and is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease (see Terms & Conditions for details). Any health-related information found in this article is available only for your interest and should not be treated as medical advice. Users should seek any medical advice from a physician, especially before self-diagnosing any ailment or embarking on any new lifestyle or exercise regime. Any information contained in this article may not be suitable, accurate, complete or reliable. Cigna accepts no responsibility for the content or accuracy of information contained on external websites or resources, or for the security and safety of using them. "Cigna" and the "Tree of Life" logo are registered trademarks of Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. in the United States and elsewhere, licensed for use. All products and services are provided by or through operating subsidiaries, and not by Cigna Corporation.

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