Polymorphic Light Eruption

That title sounds a little scary doesn't it? This is something I've been battling for a while and I wanted to share.

I've always had fairly sensitive skin and for the past 5 years I have been getting horrible, horrible "sun poisoning" any time I was on vacation (no bueno - this chica likes her sunny vacays).

I'm talking BAD "sun poisoning", like to the point that I would be out by a friends pool for 20 minutes and start getting itchy red bumps all over my chest, arms and legs. (Gross, I know. Sorry!)

I put "sun poisoning" in quotes because I never quite believed that's what it was. But my doctor just shrugged it off (hmm a reoccuring theme). After some SERIOUS Googling, I came across the wonderful Miss Lindsey and deduced that I most likely have PMLE, Polymorphic Light Eruption. It means my skin, for whatever reason, thinks the sun rays are an enemy of my body and freaks out. I keep referencing a blowfish when I explain it to someone; my skin feels invaded and puffs up into little bumps everywhere. (Note: I came to my own conclusion and have not been medically diagnosed with this - when I brought it up to my doctor he just shrugged it off and said "oh it's probably just sun poisoning"... grrr)

It still didn't make sense though, I was a SUN BABY growing up, I was outside all day every day and as tan as all get out... all until 2004 when I was in Cabo San Lucas with my family and that's the first time it flared up.

Since that time I have ruled out all Bath & Body Works-style lotions and scented soaps, and started using all natural soap (typically goat milk - it's super cheap on Etsy!). I wanted to rule out anything that could be aggravating my skin.

I've always eaten relatively healthy - love my fruits and veggies, so I didn't feel like my diet had much to do with it. I started looking into vitamin deficiencies and what I may or may not be getting from my daily vitamin. I have ordered nearly everything Lindsey found that worked for her and have started taking it in hopes of preventing this from happening in 3 weeks when we're in Jamaica!

I have started taking Niacin and Beta-Carotene supplements nightly, along with a little orange pill called HelioCare (warning - this one is on the expensive side!). I also have replaced my post-shower-baby-oil with Vitamin E oil... although it doesn't smell as yummy as baby oil, I have seen an improvement on how soft my skin is! I've been poolside a few times since my regimen started and am happy to say - no bumps! The true test will be 7 days of intense Caribbean sun at the end of this month though!

I'm writing this because I know there are a handful of other people out there who suffer from Polymorphic Light Eruption or are simply prone to bad cases of sun poisoning. Even if you just burn easily these should help you not only avoid being scorched but also they are just good for your skin in general!


Katie said...

I used to have the same thing happen to me when I was around age 8-15. I would get red welts all over my arms that were painful and took a day or two to go away.
As I got older it just stopped happening.
I might try some of the stuff you suggested though because I am still pretty sensitive to the sun.
I hope it all works for you! :) Have a fun vacation too.

Brittany said...

Chelsea, I'm so sorry to hear this! I can only imagine how bad that hurts. I really hope this regimen your doing works for you and you'll be safe in Jamaica!

Brittany said...
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court. said...

thanks for stopping by today!! glad you liked the project.

Jamie Pickle said...

I totally have this. I was in the same position as you...I have been roasting in the sun since I was a baby with no problems then while in Hawaii about 7 years ago I get this rash. I thought it was the sunscreen I was using, but even I would break out with even the best/most expensive. I talked with my doctor and he gave me some cream to help with the rash once I have it, but said it wouldn't help me from getting it. He said I just have to stay out of the sun, ummmmm not an option doc. Good luck on your vaca and let me know what you think helped!