By Soni M.
I have mentioned in many of my post that I am facing sun sensitivity since a long time and thought of sharing few tips with all of you. Please note that I am not any medical professional and these tips are just from my personal experience. You should always consult a specialist before starting anything which may affect your skin.
What is sun-sensitivity?
This is not an exact medical term or definition for the skin condition. Sun sensitivity or sun allergy is a condition in which itchy and bumpy red rashes appear on skin during long exposure to sun. In my case these occur on my arms and neck if my skin is exposed to sun for more than fifteen minutes. Sometimes I get rashes even if I am sitting in the car near the window. There are various medical terms defining different stages of exposure and effect at different parts. Let’s not get into that because we will hardly understand it. I kind of have two medical conditions, like I get itchy bumps on my arms and neck and red rashes on my face which are not itchy.
Dealing with sun-sensitivity:
• Consulting a good dermatologist: I used to get sun allergy since very long time but I kind of ignored as the frequency and intensity was very less. Also I was told by General Physician doctors that it might be a food allergy or just an infection. I am a civil engineer and my job demands many site-visits in hot sun. This is when I started getting frequent rashes in higher amount. So finally when I consulted a good dermatologist I discovered that it is sun that’s is causing me all the trouble!! It is very important to consult a good doctor at the initial stage.
• Using the right sunscreen: When you have sun sensitivity, sunscreen is like almost your second skin. Choosing the right sunscreen is equally important. I am using Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Sunscreen SPF 55+ and am happy with the effect. It is very important to apply a good layer of sunscreen on face and arms. In fact my doctor gave me a demonstration on how to apply sunscreen because he said that I am not applying a good coat of it. He asked me to apply sunscreen even when I am at home and not out in sun! That’s just too much to follow. I apply when I go out even if I would not be in sun but I take other precautions when at home.
• Wearing right clothes: Cotton fabric is all I wear nowadays with some rare exceptions of course. I mostly wear clothes with long sleeves just to avoid wearing gloves. There are summer coats available which are good option if you don’t like wearing long sleeves or cotton clothes. These can be worn and taken off easily as and when required.
• Reducing the exposure: I take precaution not to expose my skin directly in sun as far as possible. I like to carry an umbrella with me if I have to walk in sun even for few minutes. Wearing a cap or hat is also a good option to reduce some direct exposure.
• Gradual exposure: My dermatologist recommended me to expose my skin to sun progressively in early morning. This helps in seasoning the skin slowly to sun. But again this is to be done early morning when sun is not at all harsh. I sit in sun from 7-7:30 in the morning for few minutes. The time needs to be increased as the skin starts feeling better.
• Avoiding chemical products: This is toughest part actually! My doctor asked me to avoid everything other than sunscreen on my face and arms. In fact he asked me to avoid deodorants as well. I use very less cosmetics on my problematic areas. I avoid wearing foundation on my face for longer duration. Even if I have to wear, I make sure that I apply really good coat of sunscreen beneath. My cheeks are major areas where I get rashes, so I avoid blush as well. Similarly I use very limited products for my skin care. I do patch test of every new product I try. I let my skin get used to any product I am using slowly taking it into routine.
My problem got worse when I was detected with hypothyroidism. The skin regeneration capacity gets slower during thyroid disorder. Therefore I had frequent rashes and my skin turned more dry and flaky. In case you are facing similar issue, get your blood tests done for any thyroid disorder too. I am already taking medication for hypothyroidism and working on it. You can take some additional medications as recommended by your doctors. Mostly they prescribe multi-vitamins which contain biotin and other minerals good for skin and hair. Hope this post helps someone with similar problems.
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