Sun Poisoning Rash

How to Know if You Have a Sun Poisoning Rash

Sun poisoning rash, also known by its proper name of photodermatitis, occurs when the skin has an allergic reaction to the sun.  While this happens most typically in people with fair skin, anyone can be susceptible to sun poisoning.

Sometimes just exposure to the sun is enough to cause a sun poisoning rash. In other cases, it is a combination of exposure to the sun and having taken certain medications that can make one more prone to develop sun poisoning.

In some people, the use of a certain type of soap or other product before sun exposure can also induce sun poisoning.

Some people mistake a severe sunburn with sun poisoning, but there are some tell tale signs that can help you know the difference between the two. It should be noted that both serious sunburns and sun poisoning rash can require medical attention. Therefore, if you suspect either, you should pay a visit to your doctor.

When you have a bad sunburn, you will experience itching, flaking, redness, tenderness and peeling at the site of burn. When what you see is a sun poisoning rash, there will be other symptoms as well. These could include fever, nausea and headache.

Again, you should see your doctor at the first sign that you think you may have either  severe sunburn or  sun poisoning.

Treatment for a sun poisoning rash will involve applying a topical lotion to ease the pain and burning. Your doctor will likely advise you to avoid any such lotions that have fragrance or color added as those products could further aggravate the rash.

Many people find a measure of relief through the use of cold compresses or by sitting in some cool bath water. Adding a bit of oatmeal to the bath may bring additional relief.  You will want to stay hydrated and try to avoid being in a very warm room until the worst of the sun poisoning has passed.

Also, after bathing avoid rubbing the skin with a towel. Instead, gently pat the area dry. You want to avoid doing anything that will aggravate the rash and rubbing can cause the skin to become further inflamed.


Only in the most severe cases of sun poisoning would any type of medication be required. These instances would include if the patient were to become severely hydrated or if the sun poisoning rash were extremely inflamed. In these situations, the doctor may prescribe intravenous fluids for dehydrations or steroids to reduce swelling.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to avoid sun poisoning rash is to avoid prolonged sun exposure. Be sure to stay covered up as much as possible when heading to the beach, and wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 30.

Both sunburns and sun poisoning can cause permanent skin damage.  For both the health of your body and the health of your skin, avoiding exposure to the sun is the best method of prevention.