Sun eczema – Symptoms, causes and treatment

Sun eczema is a type of eczema that comes when you stay in the sun. Sun eczema usually appears as red little dots or blisters that itch a lot.

Sunburn usually occurs on the face, chest, shoulders and arms. Skin areas where early burns tend to develop sun eczema when exposed to the sun again. Areas that have mostly been in the shade are rarely affected. The sun eczema can itch intensively and make the holiday unnecessarily painful. Read on to see what you can think of to avoid eczema.

Why Is Sun Eczema Affected?

Sun eczema is most common when spring’s first sun rays hit the skin after a period of no sun exposure. For this reason, it is also common when Swedes go abroad to warmer countries in, for example, Asia in the winter. It is good to slowly increase the time in the sun so that the skin can get used to it.

Light-skinned, red-light people are more easily affected by sun eczema. If you have a sun-sensitive skin type, you need to adjust the time in the sun to avoid sun damage. Children are extra sensitive to sun. Also, keep in mind that some medicines lead to increased sun sensitivity.

Sun eczema can sometimes be called sun allergy even though it is not an allergy. The reaction that occurs at sun exposure is an inflammation of the skin when the immune system reacts to the sunlight. Sun eczema is not dangerous in itself. However, repeated exposure to strong UV rays from the sun is something that, in the long run, increases the risk of skin cancer.

Symptoms of sun eczema

Solar eczema usually shows up between one to two days after being in the sun. Some symptoms of sun eczema are:

  • Red skin
  • Warm skin
  • Sweat and itching
  • Blisters on the skin (in some cases)

The symptoms of sun eczema usually go away within four to seven days unless you are exposed to the sun again.

Treatment of sun eczema

The first thing you can do with sun eczema is to avoid further sun exposure. More contact with the sun immediately after you have eczema often means that the problems flare up further. It is also good if you use clothes that hide the body parts with sun eczema. Cold water, conditioner or skin lotion can help relieve the pain and moisturize the burned skin.

Sun protection with a high sun protection factor both prevents and treats sun eczema and other sun damage. Use sunscreen with high school protection factor that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Remember that sunscreen can be broken down during the day, for example when sweating or bathing. Then you may need to re-grease to get protection.

Prescription-free painkillers can help with any pain from the eczema. There are ointments and creams with hydrocortisone that relieve itching and burning. Stronger hydrocortisone cream can be prescribed by a doctor in case of major problems. Talk to your doctor or child care center before using hydrocortisone in children.

In very severe cases of sun eczema, there are skin clinics that offer medical solariums with small doses of UV radiation, which are then escalated. It is a demanding treatment with many visits that are only undergone in the most difficult cases. In most cases of sun eczema, preventative measures, sun protection and self-care with products from the pharmacy are sufficient.

When should you seek care?

You should contact a health care center:

  • If you have severe sun eczema
  • If you get a burn with blisters on the skin that is larger than a palm

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