Sun Poisoning Rash

The Dangers Of A Sun Poisoning Rash And How To Deal With It

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Sun poisoning rash is a complicated health issue that causes immense pain. Are you living in a cold country? Then, you travel to a location with exotic beaches for your vacation. It gives you an opportunity to enjoy the sun rays. The rare chance to soak the sun rays can tempt you to go over the top. Some may like to tan their skin. But, it is not safe for your body. Long time sun exposure can result in sun poisoning. Therefore, your travel will become the worst memory. The issue can cause pain and make you scared. So, for a happy travel experience, read the article. It will keep you safe and healthy.

What Is Sun Poisoning Rash?

You can enjoy the warmth of the sun if you limit your exposure to the sun. But, the prolonged exposure can result in premature aging, skin cancer or sun poisoning.  Sun poisoning rash is the severe sunburn caused by the ultraviolet rays in the sun. When you soak sun rays for a long time, you get affected by sun poisoning.

It is also known as the polymorphic light eruption. Tough to remember? Let’s stick to sun poisoning. Depending on your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, you can get affected by the different forms. Sun poisoning rash is not mild like the sunburn. So, you need to see a doctor immediately to prevent further complication.

Difference Between Sunburn, Sun Poisoning, And Sun Rash

By spending more time outside in the sun, you are at risk of rashes, burns, and sun poisoning. But, each condition is different. So, you need to know the difference to take the necessary action.

Mild Sunburn


Sunburn is also caused by the prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. But, the good news is, you can treat it with home remedies. You can experience pain, swelling, or redness. It cures without a medical treatment. You can apply Aloe Vera gel, take a cold bath, or use over-the-counter pain relievers to soothe the skin. It has no significant complications. So, it heals quickly without causing problems.

Sun Rash


Sun rash is the allergy developed with the sun exposure. It is also caused due to the exposure to some outdoor plants like poison ivy, parsnip, etc. You can also get the sun rash due to the genetics. It looks like a red rash with severe itchiness. The rash can further develop into small bumps with an appearance of hives.

You need medical attention to determine if the cause is sun poisoning. So, checking with your dermatologist will offer the right treatment plan. It will help determine the exact cause of the rash and suitable treatment.

Sun Poisoning Rash

The sun poisoning rash may first appear as a simple sunburn. You may neglect the first symptom as it does not seem dangerous. But, within the best six to twelve hours, the symptoms can worsen. You need to see your doctor immediately to avoid further complications.

Symptoms Of Sun Poisoning Rash

The exposure to ultraviolet rays for a long time can result in sun poisoning rash. First, the sunburn may appear. It has other symptoms like:

Peeling of Skin/ Blistering


The UV light can cause damage to the skin. The inflammation causes excessive skin damage leading to the cell shut down (programmed cell death). So, it results in the peeling of the skin.

Severe Redness

The severe sunburn due to sun poisoning can cause your skin to turn red. It is particularly visible for people with fair skin. You can experience pain with the red skin.

Prickly Feeling

The sun poisoning rash causes a prickly sensation in the skin. It is far worse than the mild sunburn. You may feel like screaming or crying when anything brushes the affected area. So, it becomes comfortable to wear clothes. You can feel the severity of the problem with the excessive pain. It is the main factor that points out that your sunburn needs medical attention.


Summer season is not known for flu. With sun poisoning, you can experience flu-like symptoms. You may have aches, chills, and other discomforts. You experience it because of your low immunity. The prolonged UV ray exposure can weaken your immunity system. So, you may feel like you have fever or chills.


Your body loses fluids with long exposure to the sun. The amount of water going out is more compared to that of the amount you consume.


With exposure to hot weather, you can endure heat emergencies. It makes you feel disoriented. So, you will lose your focus. It results in not thinking clearly and have difficulty in making decisions.

Nausea Or Vomiting

The combination of sun and severe dehydration can result in nausea or vomiting. You can experience the symptoms of sun poisoning. It makes your head feel off.



When you spend more time in the sun, the nerves and tissues in the head can change. It goes into a different mode. So, the nerve endings at the front and side of the head get affected. It results in developing headaches.


The overheating of the body can cause peripheral vessel dilation. So, it can reduce the blood flow to your heart. Therefore, the prolonged sun exposure can cause dizziness or fainting.

What Causes Sun Poisoning Rash?

Unlike the term, no actual poisoning occurs. The sun exposure will not induce any toxic substance in your body. The sun poisoning rash refers to the severe burn caused by the prolonged sun exposure. The sunlight has ultraviolet radiation that can cause rashes on your skin. It is the hypersensitive response of your skin to the prolonged sun exposure. It is caused by the following:

Going Out Without Sunscreen

People love beaches tend to spend more time outdoors. It increases their exposure to the sun rays. If you stay longer outside, you need to apply sunscreen. It protects your skin from getting affected by the UV rays.


Age also plays a significant role in getting sun poisoning rash. Everyone gets affected by the issues, but children and aged people are more prone to it.

Skin Types

If you have the lighter skin tone, then you need to maintain caution. People with sensitive skin are also susceptible to the rash. It is due to the lack of melanin (the pigmentation). It protects the skin from the harmful radiations. But, people with lighter skin tone do not have melanin.

Using Specific Products

Some products can cause rashes and blisters on your skin. The items are sunburn boosters that can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun rays. Some of the products that can lead to the serious rash are:

  • Products containing benzoyl peroxide (acne creams and astringents)
  • Antihistamines that contain diphenhydramine (like Benadryl)
  • Antibiotics with tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, and quinolones
  • Antifungal medication containing griseofulvin
  • Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Cosmetic treatments (like chemical peels, facial scrubs, laser treatments, etc.)

Are You At Risk Of Sun Poisoning?

Some people are more at risk of getting affected by the issue. You may have to take extra caution if you fall under the risk category of people with one or more features:

  • Are Fair Skinned
  • Have a family history of skin cancer
  • Taking antibiotics for infections or diseases
  • Using oral contraceptives
  • Apply oils (with citrus base) before going out
  • Live near the equator
  • Have a residence in mountainous areas (high altitudes)
  • Use herbal supplements
  • Spend more time in the beach (due to high sunlight reflection from sand and water)
  • Like to engage in snow activities in winter (snow can reflect the sunlight)
  • Use chemical peels (like AHAs)

Seeking Medical Attention For Sun Poisoning

The sunburn is the first indication that something is wrong with your skin. But, all the sunburns are not severe. So, when to seek medical help? If you experience the following symptoms, then you need to contact your doctor immediately:

  • Severe Pain
  • A headache
  • Bad Blistering
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Nausea

It points to sun poisoning, which needs medical attention. So, go to the emergency department to get treatment. Getting treatment at the right time will prevent further complications.

Diagnosis Of Sun Poisoning

If you see worrying symptoms, then you need to see our doctor. Your doctor can check the area to determine the severity of the problem. You may also receive treatment for the associated issues like dehydration and skin damage.

For severe dehydration, muscle aches, and flu-like symptoms, you need to visit the emergency room. It is a medical emergency that needs immediate attention. Your doctor determines the severity after checking your vitals. So, your doctor can come up with the right treatment plan.

Sun poisoning Rash Treatment

The first step to take if you suspect the sun poisoning rash is to see your doctor. Your doctor may apply compress or cold water to reduce the problem. Depending on the severity of the issue, you can get treatments like:

  • Dehydration: Intravenous Fluids
  • Blisters: Steroid Creams
  • Pain and swelling: Oral steroids
  • Severe Pain: Prescription medications
  • Infection: Topical Antibiotics

With the right treatment, the skin problem will heal quickly. In severe cases, a patient needs to visit the hospital’s burn unit.

Home Treatment For Sun Poisoning Rash

After getting treatment from the doctor, you can follow some home remedies. It will give you relief from the pain and speed up the healing. You can talk to your doctor before following adopting any methods. It will give your peace of mind.



You need to bath with cool water only. It will reduce the body temperature. So, it prevents the rashes from occurring again. You can also take bath in cold water mixed with baking soda. It will relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the rashes.



Drink lots of fluids with help in hydrating the body. Taking water with salts will help you regain the fluids lost due to dehydration.

Reduce Rashes



Some over-the-counter treatments offer relief from the allergies. It reduces the rashes and helps your healing. You can adopt the following methods to soothe our skin:

  • Cold milk and water are effective when applied on the skin.
  • Calamine lotion can reduce the itching.
  • Aloe Vera can cool the skin, so applying it will reduce the rash.

Taking Vitamins

Some vitamins can help you recover quickly from the adverse effects of sun poisoning. So, you can include the vitamin-rich foods in your diet. You can also take supplements to recover quickly.

  • Vitamin E is effective in healing the skin quickly. You can apply it directly on the skin or eat food rich in Vitamin E. Include avocado, nuts, or seeds for quick healing.
  • Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help the skin recover quickly from the oxidation. Taking citrus fruits or supplement can heal your skin from the ultraviolet damage.

Complications Of Sun Poisoning

Ignoring the symptoms of sun poisoning rash can lead to severe complications. It can result in life-threatening issues. You can develop problems like:

The visible issues can fade within a few days or weeks. But, the continuous exposure can result in other issues like:

  • Premature wrinkles
  • Skin Spots
  • Lesions or growths
  • Skin cancer
  • Premature aging
  • Damaged eyes

You need to get medical attention immediately. The oral medications, creams or other remedies will give you relief. It will also prevent it from getting worse. So, visit your doctor to heal completely and prevent further health complications.

Preventing Sun Poisoning

Rather than suffering the brunt of the sun, you can take precautions. It will prevent you from dealing with the skin problem. Follow the most basics of the sun safety to ensure you can enjoy the warmth.




Use sunscreen on your skin before you go out. While choosing the sunscreen, try to find one with SPF30. To get all-around protection, choose the broad spectrum. So, it protects from UVB and UVA rays. Apply it at least 30 minutes before going out.

Limit Exposure

You need to limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m-2 p.m. Restrict your visits to water, sand, and snow at the time.


Wear a hat, protective clothing, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.


Talk to your doctor before going out in the sun as some medications can make your skin hypersensitive to sun rays.


Warmer months opens so many possibilities for enjoyment. You can explore the beaches, sands, and have fun. But, take precaution from the harmful effects of the sun.  Do not end up with red welts with prolonged exposure to the sun. The sun poisoning rash is painful, so take precaution. Have a safe and exciting time outdoor by maintaining caution.

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