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21/05/2013 - Features

Sun allergies

Since allergies to the sun can affect the entire family, some questions arise.

Since allergies to the sun can affect the entire family, some questions arise. What are these types of allergies? How can you prevent them?

First, it is important to know that there are two types of solar rays that reach the skin: UVA and UVB rays.  UVB rays represent 5 to 10% of rays that reach the skin. They mainly affect the outer layer of the skin and
are responsible for sunburns (simply remember B as in “B”urning and “B”ronzing).

On the other hand, UVA rays are responsible for sun allergies and skin aging (simply remember A as in “A”llergies and “A”ging), and they represent 90 to 95% of UV rays that reach the skin. Among the possible skin reactions that UVA rays can induce, three main allergies caused by sun exposure have been identified: benign summer lucitis, polymorphic lucitis and solar urticaria.

Benign summer lucitis is the most common allergy and affects approximately 20% of the population. It is mostly observed on young women between 15 and 25 years of age, but children can also be affected. Symptoms appear two or three days after prolonged sun exposure: onset of red pimples, intense itching on the arms, shoulders and décolleté. This condition rarely affects the face. To prevent benign summer lucitis, it is recommended to stay in the shade, gradually expose the skin to the sun and, of course, apply sunscreen with UVA protection.

Polymorphic lucitis, which is much less common than benign summer lucitis, can affect both men and women, and can occur upon the first sign of spring under normal living conditions. The rash appears 12 to 24 hours after exposure to the sun and lasts 2 to 3 weeks, even in the absence of sun exposure. Just as the name suggests, polymorphic lucitis (poly = many, morph = form) can take many forms: rather thick red patches, pimples, papules, eczema or small blisters. In such a case, it is best to consult a dermatologist since the allergy may persist at each exposure to the sun.

Solar urticaria is an instantaneous reaction, but it may disappear in the shade in less than an hour. It mainly affects women between 20 and 40 and is characterized by intense itchiness and slightly swollen red patches. In such a case, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist, apply an appropriate sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and stay in the shade.


In all cases, gradual exposure to the sun is recommended, as well as avoiding exposure between noon and 4 p.m. Furthermore, make sure that your sunscreen blocks UVA rays, which are responsible for allergies to the sun.


All of our Avène Thermal Spring Water sun protection products provide broad spectrum protection against those hazardous UVA and UVB rays.

For more information about our sun care products, click here:

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