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How to Prevent the Skin Dangers of Spring Sun Exposure

Spring Danger: First Exposure to Sun

I'm definitely feeling Spring fever now that the snow around me is melting and the temperatures are reaching in the 50s. It's inspiring me to exercise outdoors and take walks on my lunch break. If Spring is calling you outside as well, I need to act like a mom here for a sec and tell you to be careful of the sun's rays. In the Winter months, most of us have our skin covered by coats and mittens, and our face is probably the only thing exposed. Hopefully, you've already been wearing a daily moisturizer that contains SPF protection, but when you step out into the Spring sunshine for the first time in less clothing, your skin isn't used to the sun's strong rays. That can spell danger for anyone, especially those with pale or sensitive skin. Sunburn isn't the only thing you need to worry about, so keep reading.

  • Some people develop a heat rash (also called prickly heat). It develops when your sweat ducts become blocked and perspiration is trapped under your skin, causing red bumps or blisters.
  • Another condition that's common in the Spring is polymorphous light eruption, which is basically an itchy, red rash caused by sensitivity to sunlight or, more specifically, UV radiation.
  • Others may have solar uticaria, a type of physical uticaria that may also be called sun rash or sun allergy. This condition is triggered by the sun, causing hives or raised welts to appear usually within minutes of exposure. It may be confused with sunburn, but usually goes away within less than a day, unlike sunburn.
  • Sun poisoning is another danger to watch out for, which is even more damaging to your skin than a basic sunburn. It causes a painful red, often blistery rash that may be accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, chills, and headaches. It usually goes away within 10 days, but having sun poisoning puts you at greater risk for developing skin cancer.

The best way to protect yourself from skin reactions is to wear sunscreen all over your exposed areas. If you know your skin is especially sensitive, don't spend hours in the sun right away. Gradually get your skin used to the new warmer, brighter weather. Be extra careful when traveling this Spring and Summer to areas where the sun is stronger than you're used too. Load up on the sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit the time you spend in the sun.

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