Sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) is an inflammation of the skin induced by the combination of medications or substances and sunlight. The effect on the skin is redness, which looks similar to a sunburn. Generally, these reactions are either phototoxic or photoallergic. Phototoxic drugs are more common than photoallergic drugs. Symptoms of phototoxic reactions are a burning and stinging sensation and then redness. Symptoms of photoallergic reactions are itching, redness, swelling, and blisters of the affected area. Treatment generally is discontinuation of the medication and topical application of creams.Treatment generally is discontinuation of the medication and topical application of creams. Read more: Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs) Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Sun-Damaged Skin: See Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns, Skin Cancer
See how sun damaged skin can cause wrinkles, moles, melanoma (skin cancer) and more. Explore images of squamous cell carcinoma...
How to Reduce Wrinkles With Lifestyle Changes
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Skin Health: 15 Tips for Clear Skin
Acne, pimples, zits and blemishes often appear on the face, back, chest, neck, and shoulders where skin has the most amount of...
Sun Safety Quiz: Test Your Sun Safety IQ
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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Quiz: Test Your SLE IQ
This Lupus Quiz covers causes, signs, symptoms, facts, and treatments for this inflammatory autoimmune disease.
Picture of Sunburn
Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that develops in response to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from...
Picture of Phytophotodermatitis With Blisters
These bullae were the result of exposure to both lime juice and the sun. See a picture of Phytophotodermatitis With Blisters and...
Picture of Acute Sunburn
Sunburn is an acute, delayed, and transient inflammatory response of normal skin after exposure to UVR from sunlight or...
Picture of Phototoxic Drug-induced Photosensitivity
Topical Phototoxic Dermatits is inadvertent contact with or therapeutic application of a photosensitizer, followed by UVA...
Picture of Phytophotodermatitis Hyperpigmentation
Phytophotodermatitis (plant light dermatitis) is an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with certain plants during...
Picture of Photoallergic Reaction
An allergic reaction caused by drugs in which ultraviolet exposure changes the structure of the drug so that it is seen by the...
Picture of Phototoxic Drug Reaction
In phototoxic reactions, the drug may become activated by exposure to sunlight and cause damage to the skin. See a picture of...
Picture of Phytophotodermatitis
In addition to perfumes, a number of plants, grasses, fruits, and vegetables contain psoralen as a photosensitizer. See a...
Picture of Sunburn (First-Degree Burns)
A sunburn is skin damage from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. See a picture of Sunburn (First-Degree Burns) and learn more about...
Picture of Sunburn (Second-Degree)
Your skin type affects how easily you become sunburned. See a picture of Sunburn (Second-Degree) and learn more about the health...
Summer Skin Dangers: Burns, Bites, Stings, and More
Summer can be hazardous to your skin if you come in contact with jellyfish, stingrays, henna tattoos, poison ivy, oak, sumac,...
15 Ways to Wreck Your Skin
Avoid skin damage by shunning bad habits like tanning, popping pimples, exfoliating too much, poor diet, smoking, and using the...
Related Disease Conditions
Heat Rash: Pictures, Symptoms, and Treatment
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating. It can occur at any age and it appears as a rash that itches or feels prickly, and looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. Heat rash remedies include OTC creams and sprays. Usually heat rash resolves when the skin is cooled sufficiently. Medical treatment may be necessary if the sweat glands become infected.
30 Sunburn Natural and Home Remedies for Severe Sunburns
There are many natural and home remedies that are thought to relieve the symptoms ofa sunburn. Check out our top 30 tips to cool that sunburn, for example drink lots of water, juice, or sports drinks; apply a cool compress containing Burow's solution; coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer after sunburn pain has stopped; apply topical over-the-counter (OTC) 1% hydrocortisone cream; and take OTC pain relievers like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Heat Exhaustion (First Aid Tips)
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement fluids. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. A person suffering from heat exhaustion should stop the activity are doing, move to a cooler environment, and rehydrate with liquids, for example, water or sports drinks. Complications of heat exhaustion are dehydration, muscle weakness, nausea, and vomiting. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke (a medical emergency) if not treated.
Heat Stroke (A Very Serious Condition)
Heat stroke (heatstroke or sun stroke) is a form of hyperthermia. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated. Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, absence of sweating, hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and coma. A victim of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage.
Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin turns white due to the loss of pigment from the melanocytes, cells that produce the pigment melanin that gives the skin color.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Freckles are flat circular spots on the skin that may be red, yellow, tan, light brown, brown, or black in color. Lentigo is the term used to describe certain types of darker freckles. Ephelis typically appear during the sunny months. Freckles can be prevented with sunscreens, the use of wide-brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing, avoiding peak sun hours, and seeking shade and staying indoors.
Skin cancers occur when skin cells undergo malignant transformations and grow into tumors. The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are highly curable when they are diagnosed and treated early. Sun exposure, tanning beds, depressed immune system, radiation exposure, and certain viral infections are risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers are treated with surgery or radiation. The prognosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers is generally very good.
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third-degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes. Repeated overexposure to UV rays also increases the risk for scarring, freckles, wrinkles, and dry skin. Symptoms of sunburn include painful, red, tender, and hot skin.The skin may blister, swell, and peel. Sun poisoning (severe sunburn) include nausea, fever, chills, rapid pulse, dizziness and more. Home remedies can help relieve sunburn pain, blisters, and peeling. Severe sunburns may need medical treatment. Sun protection and sunscreen for an person's skin type is recommended to decrease the chance of a severe sunburn and sun poisoning.
Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity or work in a hot, humid environment. Symptoms of heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms or legs that occur in association with strenuous activity. Heat cramps are part of a group of heat-related illnesses. Heat cramps can sometimes lead to heat exhaustion or, in severe instances, heat stroke, which is a true medical emergency.
Melanoma (Skin Cancer)
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which begins in skin cells called melanocytes and affects more than 53,600 people in the United States each year. These melanocytes can grow together to form benign moles which, after a change in size, shape, or color can be a sign of melanoma. Caused by sun exposure, early detection becomes extremely important to avoid a spread to other areas of the body. Diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy of the abnormal skin and treatment depends on the extent and characteristics of the patient. Metastatic melanoma is melanoma that has spread to various organs.
Hyperthermia (Heat-Related Illness)
Heat-related illness include heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, stroke, and sunburn. Treatment of heat related illnesses depend on the condition, but symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, seizures, and coma. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and may result in death if not treated promptly. Heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke if not treated properly.
Wrinkles, whether they be fine line or deep furrows, typically appear on areas of the body that receive a high amount of exposure to the sun. Smoking, light skin type, hairstyle, the way you dress, your occupational and recreational habits, and heredity are all factors that promote wrinkling. Medical treatments for wrinkles include antioxidants, moisturizers, alpha-hydroxy acids, and vitamin A acid. Cosmetic procedures that treat wrinkles include dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, glycolic acid peels, laser resurfacing, Botox, and fillers.
Sunscreens are crucial for sun protection. Sun damage to the skin from exposure to ultraviolet rays is a risk factor for skin cancer and melanoma. To avoid sunburn, people should limit sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., wear protective clothing, and use a sunscreen. People with sensitive skin should use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
First Aid and CPR
First aid is providing medical assistance to someone a sick or injured person. The type of first aid depends on their condition. Preparedness is key to first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your home, car, boat, or RV. Many minor injuries may require first aid, including cuts, puncture wounds, sprains, strains, and nosebleeds. Examples of more critical first aid emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and heatstroke.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus FAQs
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- Sunscreens: Making Sense of Sunscreen Products
- First Aid Fast Facts
- Travel Medicine Kit
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- Truths, Lies, and Sunscreens
- Sun Protection . . . Kids At The Beach
- Skin Cancer Rate Increasing
- Melanoma Skin Cancer of U.S. Senator John McCain
- Tanning Booths Harmful
- Skin Changes: How to Spot Skin Cancer
- 6 Tips if You Need Healthcare When Traveling
- Herbs: Toxicities and Drug Interactions
Medications & Supplements
- Levaquin (levofloxacin) Antibiotic
- Cipro, Cipro XR (ciprofloxacin) Antibiotic Side Effects
- Cipro, XR (ciprofloxacin) vs. Keflex (cephalexin)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- tretinoin (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Renova, Avita)
- Drug Interactions
- silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene)
- promethazine, Phenergan, Phenadoz, Promethegan
- levofloxacin (Levaquin) Side Effects and Adverse Effects
- tetracycline (Sumycin)
- isotretinoin (Accutane, Claravis, Amnesteem, Absorica, Zenatane)
- Soriatane (acitretin)