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Sun poisoning
Sun poisoning.JPG
An image of a patch of sun poisoning on the left forearm
Classification and external resources
Specialty dermatology
ICD-10 L57.8
ICD-9-CM 692.79
DiseasesDB 24609
MeSH D010787

Photodermatitis, sometimes referred to as sun poisoning or photoallergy, is a form of allergic contact dermatitis in which the allergen must be activated by light to sensitize the allergic response, and to cause a rash or other systemic effects on subsequent exposure. The second and subsequent exposures produce photoallergic skin conditions which are often eczematous.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Photodermatitis may result in swelling, difficulty breathing, a burning sensation, a red itchy rash sometimes resembling small blisters, and peeling of the skin. Nausea may also occur. There may also be blotches where the itching may persist for long periods of time. In these areas an unsightly orange to brown tint may form, usually near or on the face.


Many medications and conditions can cause sun sensitivity, including:

Photo dermatitis can also be caused by plants like the Dictamnus (commonly known as the "Burning Bush") which is a genus of the flowering plant in the Rutaceae family. This is called phytophotodermatitis.


Prevention includes avoiding exposure to the sun and wearing sun block on the affected area.

  • Cover up: wear long sleeves, slacks, and a wide-brimmed hat whenever harsh exposure is probable
  • Avoid chemicals that may trigger a reaction
  • Wear sunscreen[3][4] at least factor 30 with a high UVA protection level
  • Wear gloves and/or remain indoors after handling fruits or plants which increase sensitivity to light

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Rodriguez E, Valbuena MC, Rey M, Porras de Quintana L. 2006. Causal agents of photoallergic contact dermatitis diagnosed in the national institute of dermatology of Colombia. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 22(4): 189-192.
  3. ^ Archived AAD - The Sun and Your Skin, "Allergic Reactions" section
  4. ^ AAD - Sunscreens