If you're sensitive to sunlight, the best way to prevent sun rash is to simply stay out of the sun. However, if you have to be outdoors, consider these other ways to protect yourself from PMLE and other sun allergies. First, try to limit your sun exposure as much as possible. If you've experienced PMLE in the past, talk to your doctor about phototherapy and hardening. You can also try slowly increasing your sun exposure in the spring and early summer. Avoid being in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is most intense [source: American Osteopathic College of Dermatology].
If you have to be in the sun during its peak hours, protect yourself by wearing light clothing that covers most of your skin. You should also wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 and reapply it every two hours and after swimming or sweating heavily. Try to find a sunscreen that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, and remember to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. UV rays can harm more than just your skin, so wear sunglasses and use lip protection that contains sunscreen.
Regardless of whether you're affected by a sun allergy, following these prevention tips can protect your skin from UV rays while still allowing you to soak up some sun.
For more information on sun rash, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Aetna Intelihealth. "Sun Allergy (Photosensitivity)." (Accessed 7/25/09) http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WS/9339/10710.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "The Sun and Your Skin." (Accessed 7/25/09) http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/sun_sun.html
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Polymorphous Light Eruption." (Accessed 7/25/09)http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/polymorphous_light_eruption.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Skin Cancer: Prevention." (Accessed 7/29/09)http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm
- MayoClinic.com. "Heat Rash." (Accessed 7/27/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-rash/DS01058
- MayoClinic.com. "Polymorphous Light Eruption." (Accessed 7/25/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/polymorphous-light-eruption/DS00911
- Scheinfeld, Noah S. "Polymorphous Light Eruption." Emedicine from WebMD. March 13, 2008. (Accessed 7/29/09) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1119686-overview
- Zhang, Alexandra Y. "Drug-induced Photosensitivity." Emedicine from WebMD. March 19, 2007. (Accessed 7/29/09) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1049648-overview