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How To Protect Yourself Against Photodermatitis In The Summer

Aug 17, 2007
Summer brings lovely, warm sunshine and plenty of laughter, but it can also bring with it many skin problems. Photodermatitis is unfortunately one of them, and it occurs due to the ultraviolet light caused by the suns rays. But just what exactly is it and can it be harmful?

Photodermatitis and its Symptoms
Photodermatitis is a condition which occurs when the skin has an abnormal reaction to the suns ultraviolet light. There are two types of the condition, either acute Photodermatitis, or Chronic Photodermatitis. Basically UV rays are classified by their wavelength and Photodermatitis is a higher risk when the wavelength is higher.

It is possible for some chemicals to trigger Photodermatitis in the skin, as there are over 115 different chemical agents and drugs that we expose ourselves to every day. Allergies can also trigger the condition, as can a direct toxic effect from a substance. It is thought that some immune related disorders can sometimes be to blame for the condition, such as nutrition deficiencies and systemic lumps.

The symptoms of the condition vary from person to person but they usually include itchy blisters, bumps or raised areas of the skin. You may also notice some lesions which look similar to Eczema and Hyperpigmentation also often occurs too. In some cases you may experience some pain, redness and you could end up with flu like symptoms such as fever and nausea.

Your skin type could affect your chances of developing the condition and usually people with either fair skin, red and blonde hair, or people with green or blue eyes, are more at risk of it. In summer if you spend longer than thirty minutes in the sun you are also at risk and it also depends upon the time you are in the sun. Generally the suns UV levels are higher in the late morning and early afternoon, so it is always better to avoid the sun at those times whenever possible.

Prevention and Treatment for Photodermatitis

If you do not already have Photodermatitis, there is a chance you can prevent it from occurring. This includes staying out of the sun during its peak periods in the late morning and early afternoon, covering up wherever possible and wearing sunscreen, and double check that any medicine you are currently taking, is not a potential risk by talking with your health care provider.

If you do have the condition there are ways you can treat it. If you have blisters or sores that are weeping, you should apply a cool, wet dressing to them. It is possible that in some cases, the doctor may suggest phototherapy in order to control the condition.

This is another common rash which is caused by the sweat which the sun produces. Otherwise known as Malaria, it occurs when the sweat ducts become blocked or there is too much perspiration. They tend to break open and this allows the sweat to leak just under the skin which is what causes the rash to occur.

If you find that your condition is particularly sensitive, you may be offered various drug therapies. Azathioprine is often prescribed in order to suppress the immune system and some Glucocorticoids are also sometimes used to control some eruptions of the skin. If your skin cannot be treated using phototherapy, your doctor may also prescribe drugs such as Beta Carotene, Hydroxychloroquine, Thalidomide or Nicotinamide.

Bear in mind however that the use of Thalidomide does often cause problems including birth defects, and it should never be taken by women who are pregnant or by women who wish to become pregnant.

Your doctor may also suggest that you change your eating habits as eating certain foods can reduce the risk of the condition, and they can help to control eat. Fatty acids are a good example and also extra protein.

Overall treatment will depend upon each different case of the condition. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. It is always better to consult your doctor if you feel you may have this condition, in order for them to give you the proper treatment.
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