Light Sensitivity

Skin reactions can be caused by a variety of substances and materials including plants, foods, and chemicals. While we all can relate to conditions caused by poison ivy, food allergies, and chemical reactions to the skin, some people suffer from an ailment called Chronic Actinic Dermatitis (CAD), which is an acute sensitivity to light. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sunlight or artificial light. Sufferers can break out with a red burning rash, blistering, itching, and dryness after as little as thirty seconds of light exposure.

Risk factors for chronic light sensitivity include:

  • Age—Usually affects people 50 or older.
  • Gender—Males are affected more often than females.
  • Skin allergies—Individuals with other skin allergies may be more susceptible to experiencing light sensitivity.
  • Atopic dermatitis—younger patients with this skin disease may develop light sensitivity.

Tests to confirm the diagnosis of light sensitivity include:

  • Skin patch testing—This standard dermatological procedure is used to test for allergens to rule out other causes of the skin reaction.
  • Photo testing—By checking to see your skin’s adverse reaction to different wavelengths of light, including ultraviolet A and B rays, your dermatologist can confirm the diagnosis of light sensitivity.

Although light sensitivity is not totally curable, you can minimize your symptoms in the following ways:

  • Avoid exposure to sunlight—Cover any exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Wear hats, sunglasses and gloves.
  • Apply sunscreen—Your dermatologist can prescribe a high SPF sunscreen to apply to any skin that might be exposed to light.
  • UV protective films—These can be applied to windows in cars, and in areas of the house to limit exposure to UV rays.

If you are experiencing symptoms of skin sensitivity, see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Juan Vaillant of Old Bridge Dermatology has been treating patients for hair, skin, and nail problems for over 30 years, and has the extensive background needed to help address a variety of dermatological issues. Dr. Vaillant has successfully treated acne, eczema, dandruff, hair loss, psoriasis, and nail fungus. If you are looking for an amiable, highly skilled dermatologist, call our office in Old Bridge, NJ at (732) 679-0222 and make an appointment.