Sun rash

This is only my second venture to sunnier climes since my autoimmune disease onset in summer 2009. (I have an official diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and a tentative diagnosis of lupus.) I'm covered from head to toe in itchy, red raised spots which is making my lovely holiday a bit miserable. I do tend to break out in these rashes if I dare to look at the sun but this is, by far, the worst. I slather myself in factor 50, cover myself up and avoid the sun. Is there anything else I can do to prevent this rash? Also, any tips on soothing my sore skin would be much appreciated please.

Thank you in advance.

12 Replies

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  • Hi Crash doll, I have the same issue and I take 10 mg steroids daily when I know I'll be in the sun and if I get caught out without them I take them to clear the rash up.

  • Thanks for your reply. Will phone rheum nurse on Monday when I get home. Dreading scratching the entire 5 hour flight home. :(

  • I know it's dreadful x

  • I too suffer sun rashes & have found the only way to avoid them is to stay out the sun - great fun! There is specialist sun protective clothing you can buy but it's expensive.I have found thick opaque cotton gloves to wear while driving do protect my hands better than factor 50 plus.

    To soothe your rashes,you might find an antihistamine helps & aftersun lotion would be cooling.However,I find Lavender essential oil best - it'll take away the itch & heal the skin. You can put 4 drops in a bath or you can put 4 drops in a water spray to use as required. You can even put Lavender oil neat on damaged skin but I'd follow that up with a moisturising lotion/cream to ensure a good spread.

  • Yes, I suspect that completely avoiding sun is now my only option left. Big sigh!

    Thanks for your helpful reply.

  • When you have this red rash all over, we call it a flare. During this time, you need to stay out of the sun and the heat completely, resting as much as possible, tell your doctor, she or he can give you steroid medicine to cut the flare shorter time. My doctor gives me the Betamethasone cream to put on the skin and it seems affective, during this time I avoid coffee, alcohol, fried, spicy foods, but drink more water and eat easy digestion foods.

    If I have to go out side, I always wear hat, cover myself up and use spectrum lotion 70+ since I live in FL. Most lightly, I avoid to be out on the sun for so long, especially from 10 to 4 peak time because the heat tricks inflammation will make me tired and body aches.

    When I got bad rash, I stay in the dark and cool place to rest, minimize social activities for few days and it seems to be healing faster.

    Hope it helps and good lucks

  • Thank you for the reply. Good idea about steroid cream, think if can buy it over the counter here. Ill phone rheum nurse when I get home if I'm no better by Monday,

  • This cream I got from prescription, maybe you can buy in UK over the counter. I had used for almost 2 years before replied it works, if I put on a thin layer it won't work, I put on thick layer and take 2 minutes for it to calm down, there also a facial cream calls Hydrocortisone USP 2.5 from my Rhreumy . Good lucks.

  • I sympathise entirely and know how unpleasant the sun reaction can be. I can usually manage about 3 days on a sunny holiday (being careful in the sun and using factor 50) but know that the rash is inevitable and miserable beyond this. Only answer is to avoid the sun and from getting too hot. I have tried all sorts of high protection creams and while they stop any tanning, they never prevent the inevitable rash sadly. Shade and protective clothes help but the only time in 22 years I had no sun reaction was when I had a steroid injection a week before travelling! I haven't found any creams or antihistamine to work particularly well😞

  • I wasn't this bad on my last holiday but I must have been more careful. It's not as hot here, so I suppose I have been more complacent.

    Now that you mention avoiding getting too hot, I have noticed that my skin is itchier when I'm hot. I'm currently sitting by the pool; in clothes, a hat, sunnies and so much factor 50 that I look like a snowman! Sadly, this has put a real downer on my holiday and I'm glad to be retuning home tomorrow. Thank heavens for wifi, hey? ;)

    Thank you for your reply and sympathy.

  • Don't loose heart - I love the sun and have found ways to minimise/ cope with the effects and needing to be careful. I've had more time to learn how my lupus responds and what I can and can't do - you will too. It hasn't stopped me having my beach holidays!

    Do you find the rash is itchiest at night when the air temperature drops and you can feel heat build up in your skin? If you do, try not sitting / sleeping in a very air conditioned room. It makes it worse for me. Keep on with the factor 50, get your dummies and hat on, find a nice big umbrella, and enjoy that drink!

  • Oops - meant sunnies (as in glasses) not dummies😎

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