Not Soaking Up the Sun: So Now I’m Living With Sun Allergies

I’ve been on holiday for the past week, with a friend from my undergraduate university visiting! It’s been wonderful and I haven’t thought about all the work that is waiting for me after she leaves… but soon I will have to return to my regular schedule. Alas, such is the nature of summer!

The downside to so many days of holiday adventures is that my sun allergy is acting up in a big way. It started last year for the first time, and I thought perhaps I was developing my family’s infamous seafood allergy due to some cross-contaminated restaurant food (I’m vegetarian so I wouldn’t encounter it normally). However, the reoccurring symptoms made it clear that it was sun exposure that caused the flare-up of a rash on my arms and chest, sometimes face.

I haven’t been to the dermatologist yet to have it looked at, but I’ve had some moderate success with figuring out the problem on my own. Antihistamines seems to make the rash disperse itself within a few hours, but doesn’t completely soothe the raised skin on my wrists. I’m using a sunscreen made for babies with sensitive skin (because I’m a big baby with sensitive skin) and it has shown moderate success, but doesn’t do much after the rash shows up. An after-sun lotion I have been testing also doesn’t do much to soothe the redness.

So, I am embarking over the next couple of weeks to make a serious attempt to figure this out. I’m thinking that sharing this journey here on the blog (even though it’s a little off topic from my normal posts) might both help me to be accountable, and perhaps help anyone else trying to figure out how to survive in the summer sun without just hiding indoors like a vampire (additionally, we determined that I am not indeed a vampire. I ate a roasted garlic pizza today that was delicious, and only managed to keep my friends and family at a distance from me, rather than have me burst into flames).

I’m thinking that I will try modifying my diet to be a bit cleaner – I love fruits and vegetables so normally eat quite a lot but this holiday meant that my sugar intake was way higher than normal. I’ll also experiment with some more natural skin care products, teas and other things that typically make me feel better. And I’m going to perhaps amend my wardrobe with some more coverage-offering garments and hats. Boy, this is going to be attractive.

Do any of you lovely readers have experience with sun allergies or light sensitivity? I’d love to hear stories of similar things – for reassurance, and perhaps suggestions of things to try.

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