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Be careful of that thing that's just appeared in the sky PDF Print Email

At last Spring seems to be arriving.  This also means that for many people, however, sun allergy can be an unwelcome addition to the first rays of sun. 

Most people's skin hasn't been exposed to sunlight for many months, and given the recent very low temperatures this spring, the appearance of the sun can be too abrupt. This can give rise to red patches, itchy spots and small blisters appearing on the skin after exposure to the UV light.  Twenty percent of European people suffer from this allergy. Various scientific studies have revealed that prevention is the best remedy. Gradually increasing exposure to sunlight allows the skin to get used to the sun again.

PLE is an over-reaction by the immune system caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. According to scientists, this "photosensitivity" or "sun allergy" can be prevented by a gradual increase in exposure to sunlight.  If your skin is allowed to get used to sunlight gradually, the normal reaction (the natural colouring of the skin) will occur and an over-reaction such as PLE can be avoided. This gives the immune system and the skin time to adapt to the varying levels of sunlight.


PLE often occurs in early spring because the skin has gone without exposure to UV light for months and the immune system no longer retains the ability it had in summer to process UV light correctly. Sun allergy can still occur even in the middle of summer when the skin has already taken on some colour. An example of this could be when the skin has been exposed to the weak Northern European sun and is suddenly overwhelmed by full exposure to stronger sunlight in Southern Europe when holidaying in, for instance, Spain.


Your local pharmacy will be able to advise you on what you can do to prevent PLE as well as suggest some treatments to help with sun allergy and some sun block or sun screen to help you adjust safely.