Who is not allowed in the sun?

While most people look forward to the sun in the summer, others should avoid the sun. This includes patients with certain skin conditions that are caused or aggravated by exposure to UV light. But extra protection against the sun is also necessary for patients who use certain medications.

People with a light skin type

To the beach, the swimming pool or the park, most people look for the sun in the summer. But some of them should enjoy it only in moderation or perhaps not at all. According to dermatologists, people who should avoid the sun are people with a light skin type, i.e. skin types I and II. They have an increased risk of developing melanoma skin cancer. Anyone who belongs to the Celtic (type I) or northern type (type II) has low natural skin protection and should therefore preferably seek the shade and use sunscreen with a high protection factor.

Drug as sensitizer

Not only people with light skin color, but also patients with certain diseases should avoid the sun. These are patients who are treated with medications that increase the skin’s photosensitivity. In this context, dermatologists speak of so-called sensitizers, substances or properties that can evoke (more or less severe) allergic reactions or aggravate such allergies.
Depending on the drug, these photosensitizers lead to different symptoms that can range from severe sunburn and blisters to increased pigmentation. In this context, diuretics are mainly mentioned as a trigger.
The photosensitizer par excellence is St. John’s wort. But many other active ingredients from antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-malarials can also have a similar effect. Pharmacists, when dispensing such a medication, should advise the patient to use appropriate sun protection.

Increased risk of skin cancer due to medication use

Patients who have undergone an organ transplant are a special case. They often have to take medicines that increase the risk of skin cancer by a factor of 30. Other patients where the functioning of the immune system is chronically under pressure are also at risk. Patients with ulcerative colitis or rheumatoid arthritis take medications that significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.

Sick from sunlight

The third major group of people who should avoid the sun are patients with skin diseases that are activated or aggravated by UV light. The classic in this context is cutaneous lupus erythematosus. In this autoimmune skin disease, UV light is one of the most important triggers. Both sun and artificial light exposure can cause or worsen skin lesions and, in rare cases, lead to systemic lupus.
Therefore, consistent sun protection measures are also a must for these patients. Highly effective sunscreens (protection factor 50 or more) should be applied to exposed areas of the body all year round. In addition, patients should be aware that windows transmit UV-A radiation and may need to be covered with a dark foil.

Sun allergy not a real allergy

These reactions, known in everyday speech as sun allergies, are not a real allergy. True photoallergic reactions usually occur in connection with the ingestion of a medication or when using certain sunscreens.

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