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Thread: Allergic to sunlight

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Allergic to sunlight

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    I have fair skin and live in a place without much natural sunshine. In my early teens, whenever we went on holiday (to hot sunny places) I would end up with polymorphic light eruption: a sort of allergic reaction to UV light which results in an itchy rash that only goes away with a few days out of direct sunlight. It seemed to be potentiated or worsened by contact with grasses, but would also happen on its own. So I got into the habit of being very cautious about sun exposure: full-body clothing and high-factor suncream if I went anywhere sunny.

    But knowing what I now know about vitamin D, in the recent heatwave I've been trying to get out into the sunshine more and exposing more of my skin with no suncream. And while it was fine for the first few days, as I've tried to ramp up the exposure to half an hour at a time (walking or standing in the sun, not sunbathing or anything) the rash has come back, just on my upper chest (arms and shoulders appear to be fine, although they've tanned more *ok the shoulders may have burnt a little, but no rash there). It's very mild at the moment it's not really itching but I can see the lumps but I don't want it to get worse. I've also noticed that where I have a couple of insect bites, if they get exposed to sunlight the irritation is worse (blistering instead of merely itching).

    Has anyone had a similar problem? If so, do you have any solutions apart from staying covered/indoors? Sunshine is rare enough here that I want to make the most of it while I can.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    South Carolina
    I grew up thinking of myself as allergic to sun because if I got much sun I would have a headache and nausea that evening. Now I think what was going on was mostly dehydration. I am able to tolerate much more sun without getting a sunburn since I started taking vitamin D. I have also seen people say that eating a higher saturated fat diet increases sun tolerance. In recent years I have gotten a splotchy rash on my legs if I walk around a lot in the heat, but it happens even if I am wearing long pants so it isn't sun. I will be interested to see if that is different this years since going primal. You might start by exposing your arms and protecting your chest--take it one step at a time.
    age 56, type 2 diabetes, swimmer
    low carb since 2006 thanks to Jenny, primal since Jan. 2012

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Chicago Suburbs
    Sounds like you may need to go a little slower. Put a tank top on that protects your chest and exposes your arms and shoulders until the rash is gone. Then re-expose your chest again, maybe 10 minutes a day and see if small amounts over time make it better. Making sure you are consuming enough cholesterol in your diet so your body can use that to create vit D.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Midlothian, Scotland
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    I have it; the doctor said it's solar dermititis. I seem to avoid it these days as long as I wear sun screen, and eating better has also made it happen a lot less.

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