Solar dermatitis is the popular name for photodermatitis, a health condition in which a number of symptoms, not unlike those in other types of eczema, appear after the skin has been exposed to the sun.
This reaction is from a limited part of the spectrum of light that is emitted by the sun - the ultra violet part of the spectrum, or UV rays. People with fair skin, lighter hair color, and lighter eye color, are more likely to develop the condition. It can be easily managed by avoiding contact of the skin with sunlight, or by removing the cause of the condition when possible.
There are a number of things that can cause photodermatitis:
Eczema, lupus, as well as some genetic and metabolic factors all may lead to the unusual reaction on the skin when in contact with UV light. Photosensitivity (and possibly photodermatitis) are also possible side effects of a lot of medications, from NSAIDs, antibiotics, antifungals, antidepressants, and chemotherapy agents. Some of the chemicals that cause photosensitivity are:
Symptoms of photodermatitis usually include:
It's not uncommon for photodermatitis symptoms to look like regular eczema. The area affected is usually exposed to the sun, so symptoms can present themselves after the slightest exposure to the sun. They can also show up after a session in a tanning bed. Depending on the severity of the conditions, the skin turns red, starts to itch, and develops a rash with blisters, bumps, and possible lesions. Nausea, followed by fever and chills, can happen in more severe cases.
These symptoms can appear all of a sudden and go away after a short time, or they can last for quite a while, as photodermatitis can be both acute and chronic. People with a genetic cause of photodermatitis have an increased risk of skin cancer.
Treatment and management options for photodermatitis include:
The most important thing is to control the exposure of the skin to the sunlight. As it would be nearly impossible for people with solar dermatitis to avoid the sun completely, it should be avoided at the times with peak UV index. At other times, sunscreen may provide the necessary protection, and if not, light clothing with long sleeves can be used to protect the skin, even in a really hot summer.
Needless to say, deliberate exposure to UV rays, unless controlled by a medical professional, is not a good thing to do, so tanning beds should be avoided.
Sign Up For My Free Newsletter