"Polymorphous light eruption (PLE), or polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), is a skin condition caused by sunlight.
Symptoms include skin irritations, which may be itchy or painful, and are sometimes confused with hives. These irritations appear upon exposure to sunlight sometimes only hours after exposure and may last from 1 to 7 days."
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
07/14/2012: Mermaids Blue Turtle from Kansas City, Missouri: "I just got PMLE for the first time. All it took was a walk to the car. My chiropracter said it was due to a calcium deficiency. But, I also take advil regularly (trying not to) and I wash hair with a dandruff shampoo that has coal tar in it. Plus I have pinched nerves. I suspect all are contributing culprits. He recommended I take Cateplex F with calcium. This will take awhile to work. So, in the mean time I am trying not to scratch (not much luck there) and a topical cream. I started with aloe with lidacane but that didn't do much. I am currently using a cortizone 10 cream which gives 1 to 2 hours of relief. I am also avoiding the sun as much as possible. Hope that helps."Replies
09/17/2012: Erica from Mechanicsburg, Pa replies: "I too have wondered about cures for pmle... Nothing seems to work for me. When I am exposed to the sun for more than a few minutes, my skin starts to burn like its on fire, and after a few minutes, the bumps start (I think I understand how vampires feel). They used to be only on my left hand and lower arm. But this year, I started a new job where I am in the sun a bit more than is normal for me, and now it is affecting my upper and lower arm (left only), left hand, left ear, left side of my face, and the left side of my nose. My face doesn't have the same affect as my arm, it doesn't burn when exposed to sunlight, but I get the same itchy bumps. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated."
10/14/2012: Ai from Upstate New York, NY replies: "Hi, My sun sensitivity started after I began taking doxycycline and methotrexate. I do have autoimmune disease (RA, lupus, countless food/environmental sensitivities), plus lyme and heavy metal poisoning. All these are contributing to my sun sensitivity, I think.
This whole summer, I suffered with terrible sunburns. Just by walking from my car to the store, I would break out in my face like you wouldn't believe. My face would blow up like beet red basketball, tiny blisters and bumps, which start weeping and oozing, stinging and burning and all that crap. My face becomes totally disfigured. My scalp would have rashes all over and the hair falls out.
Dermatologist put me on prednisone taper program each time, and currently I'm doing it the 3rd time. This time, it wasn't working, and no matter how I tried, the symptoms wouldn't go away. I began to panic. Is this going to be permanent?
After exploring internet, I found a cream called D____ tea tree antiseptic cream. I read the Amazon reviews and some said that it helped sunburns. So I got it from the local store and put it on. (I have super sensitive skin, so I was scared, but what would I lose?)
It gave me a chilling burning sensation all over my face and I panicked. Wash it off? But I left it on for few more minutes. Then the sensation subsided, and by night, the redness decreased significantly, and the bumps and blisters also began to go away. The cream has an effect of cooling your heat/inflammation, and my hot skin was actually cool, well, almost cold!
By the following day, the redness has reduced to 30% and the stinging pain mostly gone. Today's my 3rd day, and I'm looking pretty normal now.
I'm still on prednison taper program, but with the help of this cream, I think I can get off it quickly. After I'm off completely, I don't know how it's going to be like, since this cream is not an allergy remedy. But it sure worked fast and good for the suffering I was going through. It was only $8!!
I would recommend this product for people who go through this terrible burn from the sun. For dry skin people, it's not heavy enough to moisturize your skin. You can put your regular moisturizer on top of this cream. it'll give you a great relief!
I hope this will help some people who have the similar problems."
[QUESTION] 07/11/2010: Cvw from Abbotsford, Bc, Canada: "Hello all. I have had a life long allergy to the sun. I get hives within minutes of exposure. Of course worse in the summer than winter. The technique of slowly conditioning my body to the sun works minimally. The majority of sunscreens also give me hives. I am caucasian female. There is no lupus, but I have always had very dry skin and had small amounts of psoriasis for years. Thyroid test is normal. Has anyone experienced the same and found any resolve with natural remedies. Thanks for your help."Replies
07/29/2010: Davo from Stawell, Victoria, Australia replies: "Cvw, I suffer from Sun Allergy as well, the reaction comes on several hours after exposure, in the form of intense itching and huge eczema flare-up in all of my skin creases (neck, behind my knees, crease of elbow etc, even though these areas haven't been exposed to the sun). Worst of all, the skin on my forehead and face flakes off for up to several weeks afterwards. I suspect I am getting burnt to the core, as a result of fragile skin due to years of using cortisone creams for eczema. The only thing that helps is prevention, i.e. Staying out of the sun, covering up and using loads of sun screen. But once the reaction kicks in all is left is to wait out the reaction and wait several weeks for the skin to heal. In the past six months I've thrown out all of my prescription medication and had amazing results with a alkalizing diet and using natural remedies from Earthclinic for my other ailments, including GERD, High Blood Pressure, dust mite allergies and eczema. ACV is amazing! You might find this page useful:
But I don't think my Sun Allergy is chemical related. And a solution to my Sun Allergy remains elusive. I hope others can offer some thoughts on this.... I am pretty desperate, being the father of two young kids, well, it's soul destroying not being able to enjoy the outdoors with them."
07/30/2010: Davo from Stawell, Victoria, Australia replies: "Ccw, I suffer from a Sun Allergy as well, the reaction comes on several hours after exposure, in the form of intense itching and huge eczema flare-up in all of my skin creases (neck, behind my knees, crease of elbow etc, even though these areas haven't been exposed to the sun). Worst of all, the skin on my forehead and face flakes off for up to several weeks afterwards. I suspect I am getting burnt to the core, as a result of fragile skin due to years of using cortisone creams for eczema. The only thing that helps is prevention, i.e., staying out of the sun, covering up and using loads of sun screen. But once the reaction kicks all is left is to wait out the reaction and wait several weeks for the skin to heal. In the past six months I've thrown out all of my prescription medication and had amazing results with a alkalizing diet and using natural remedies from Earthclinic for my other ailments, including GERD, High Blood Pressure, dust mite allergies and eczema. Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing! You might find the page on Photosensitivity (in the ailments section) useful. But I don't think my Sun Allergy is chemical related. And a solution to my Sun Allergy remains elusive. I hope others can offer some thoughts on this.... I am pretty desperate, being the father of two young kids, well, it's soul destroying not being able to enjoy the outdoors with them."
07/31/2010: Kay from In The Valley, Ca replies: "I know that people with auto-immune diseases usually have a sensitivity to the sun. Even though you may not test positive for lupus (at this time), there are other less severe forms of auto-immune disease. I would get tested when you are suffering from a reaction, because that is probably when your body is going to give you the most informative test results. Good luck."
09/18/2011: Brittany from Grove City, Oh, Usa replies: "I have PMLE (sun allergy as you guys have called it). I've had it since I was a young child (when I was in the sun more as I got a little older). I avoid the sun now which isn't a big deal usually for me since I'm a homebody. But if I am going to be in the sun I use high SPF sunscreen. It mostly affects my arms and hands but can affect my face, nose, ears, neck, legs, feet and chest if exposed. It's really frustrating. I have not found a cure, though I did go vegetarian for 2 years and the second summer I was veggie my PMLE never surfaced... I went veggie again not long ago and it didn't help so I don't know what I did that fixed it for that one summer... I wish I knew."
02/29/2012: Onyx from Doha, Qatar replies: "I used to suffer from something similar although not as severe. My cheeks would become inflamed and swollen when out in the sun, it happened nowhere else on my body but I'm also very prone to sunburn. I noticed after taking 2000-4000mg of vitimin C in a crystal form every day, after a week so my skin improved. Vitimin C was also great for my other allergies and sensitive skin."
04/16/2012: "I have Polymorphous Light Eruption (Sun Allergy) on my hands each spring or any time I'm in the sun for a while. This home remedy has worked like a charm: Mash half a banana to a paste, add 1 tsp honey (ideally organic) and mix well. Apply the paste over the affected area and let it air dry for 30 min before rinsing off with water (no soap). The rash usually clears up within a day or so."
05/04/2012: Rajat619 from Bangalore, India replies: "I am suffering from photosenstivity very smilar to ple (polymorphic light eruption) which I acquired due to my own lifestyle.... I had acne outbreak t around 18 yrs of age and to prevent hyperpigmentation from sunlight I started avoiding sun altogether... And now I develop hives sort of things on exposure to sun after a few hours... Topical application of green tea helps a bit though... Can u suggest any home treatment for my condition?"
05/13/2012: Galgoneglutenfree from Allentown, Pa replies: "I have had bouts of polymorphous light reactions every Spring for more than 15 years which are limited to my hands. I'll try some of the tricks in the above comments this year, but usually my doctor puts me on a short course of steroid medication and it knocks it out or at least makes it more manageable for the remainder of the season."
08/05/2012: Eloise from Montreal, Quebec, Canada replies: "Hi, I have PMLE for 22 years now and I tested a lot of treatments in the past 10 years. The most effective treatment so far is a formulation with Alpha-glucosylrutin and Vitamin E that I formulate myself with a cosmetic chemist. I tested the lotion this summer in Cape Cod and it is working very well for me. From all the preventive PMLE treatments I've tried so far, it is the only solution that has reduced 90% of my symptoms and allowed me to fully enjoy my vacation for the first time since I was 12 years old.
If you look at clinical research conclusion on Medscape website you will find 80% of people who have used a formulation like this have experienced a major improvement of their PMLE and most of them had no symptoms at all. I would strongly suggest you give this a try. Lotion is available in USA and Canada only. If you google "glucosylrutin lotion" you will easyly find it.
Good luck to you all in finding a treatment for PMLE!"
09/13/2012: Lisa from Portland, Or replies: "I have had a sun allergy since 1997, and sunscreens also burned my face. Someone suggested I try a 50 SPF for infants, and that has successfully alleviated the problem. Figure, if it's gentle enough for an infant, it probably will be gentle on your face. Hope you'll give it a try. Good Luck."