Sunlight Allergies May Affect up to 20 Percent of the World's Population


Both topical and oral medications can cause allergic reactions when skin is exposed to sunlight. Sunscreens and products that contain chemical sunblock rather than mineral sunblock are often the culprit in breakouts as well, Adigun explained.

Even when a PMLE diagnosis is confirmed, Adigun lamented there wasn't much the doctor could do for the patient.

"I stress prevention and tell them photo-protection is of paramount importance," she said.

That means slathering on sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide whenever you go out or plan to spend time near windows. Besides being a potential allergen, chemical-based sunscreens don't block the entire spectrum of UVA rays.

"Clothing is the best defense because it really, truly covers you. It doesn't wear off, and you can't miss a spot," Adigun said.

Madore agreed that the best defense against her symptoms is prevention.

"If I'm outdoors for any length of time, I wear sunscreen and carry an umbrella. But even then I can't stay out too long," she said.

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