Have you ever found yourself developing a rash on sun exposed areas of your body following a day on the water? A skin rash that is caused or worsened by the sun is called photodermatitis. There are a variety of photodermatidites such as photoallergic, phototoxic, photodrug (caused by medications or supplements), photocontact (something touching the skin and then reacting to the sun), and phytophoto (caused by plants). Photodermatitis can present as itching, redness, scaly bumps, blisters, skin darkening limited to sun exposed areas such as the neck, face, scalp, forearms/hands, and lower legs. Often times these patients will go months not realizing the connection between their sun exposure and the rash.
Some of the more common causes we see in our clinic here in SWFL is photodrug eruptions. Common medications such as certain blood pressure medications, antibiotics, Benadryl, chemotherapy, diabetic medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as Aleve, some anti-depressants, and others can cause these eruptions.
Plants or food can cause phytophotodermatitis more commonly when touched followed by sun exposure. The most famous condition is “Margarita Dermatitis” or “Lime Disease”. This should not be confused with the more well known tick-borne Lyme Disease which is more serious. Common causes of phytophotodermatitis are parsnip, parsley, celery, types of hogweed, carrot, lemon, lime, bergamot orange, and figs.
Anyone suffering from a photodermatitis should visit their local dermatologist for treatment and to rule out more serious illnesses such as lupus. The next time you are enjoying a long day fishing here in beautiful SWFL remember to put on your sunscreen.