The most common manifestation of sun allergies is benign summer light eruption. It is characterised by an outbreak of red papules (spots) on sunny days. It affects nearly 10% of adults. Dermatologists therefore often encounter this problem in their patients.
What is the profile of patients who come to see you with symptoms of summer light eruption?
Quite often they are women between the ages of 15 and 35.
They do not necessarily come in the summer, despite the name of the condition. A skiing trip or a few hours at an outdoor café in the spring can trigger the appearance of small, red spots that are often slightly raised; these unattractive bumps can occur on the neckline, forearms and legs. If sun exposure persists, skin grows accustomed and these manifestations disappear.
Is there a way to prevent summer light eruption?
It starts all of a sudden without any triggering factor whatsoever, save for sun exposure.
Once the light eruption has occurred, it will systematically recur when sun exposure begins. I therefore recommend that my patients, especially those who have sensitive skin, use an effective sun protection product that filters both UVB and UVA rays.
Are there medicines that can prevent the appearance of light eruption?
I readily use dietary supplements that contain beta carotene, selenium and probiotics;
these should be taken one month before initial sun exposure and throughout the duration of exposure. For major light eruptions, I prescribe a course of synthetic antimalarial drugs to begin 10 days before initial sun exposure. I am less likely to use phototherapy, which consists of a few sessions of ultraviolet radiation before initial sun exposure, because I do not want to compound UV exposure in my patients.