Why Your Skin Itches In the Sun

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why your skin itches in the sun

Why your skin itches in the sun describes certain conditions that cause itches when exposed to sunlight or through other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, or hot baths. The itch occurs sometimes when in the sun and stops when you’re out of it. Also, there are no rashes like a typical sun allergy with an itchy rash.  So, the reason why your skin itches in the sun could be either solar urticaria or a photoallergic type of sun allergy. This is an itching condition that is more common in people with allergies, eczema, and asthma. But people without these conditions can have the itch, too.

Itch-Related Sun Allergies

Solar urticaria

why your skin itches in the sun

Solar urticaria is a type of sun allergy that causes discomforting itch after just a few minutes of sun exposure. This is an allergic reaction with sudden itching. It happens in areas of the skin exposed to the sun, and even under thin clothing. As regards age onset, solar urticaria has a wide range of 10 to 70 years. The typical onset is 20-40 years. The mean age for solar urticaria is 35 years, but it has been reported to occur in infancy.

Photoallergic Reactions

The photoallergic reaction is a type of sun allergy that occurs when a chemical applied to your skin reacts to sunlight. Examples of these include medications, sunscreens, makeup, and fragrances. Symptoms may show up a few hours or days after sun exposure.


The triggers are not clearly defined but may be due to the following causes:

Antigen-antibody reaction

Why your skin itches in the sun may be due to an antigen-antibody reaction. It seems that a chemical created in your body (a photoallergen) reacts with UV radiation to cause an allergic reaction that manifests as itchy skin.

Body heat

Likewise, body heat and sweating that is generated from exposure to the sun, exercise, hot baths, spicy foods, emotion, or other sources can lead to itchy skin.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is another reason why your skin itches in the sun without a rash. In most cases, dry skin can be a result of environmental conditions, such as low humidity and hot or cold weather. It’s also sometimes caused by activities that can decrease moisture in the skin, such as bathing in hot water.


why your skin itches in the sun

The main symptoms of solar urticaria are itching, stinging, and burning. This happens as your body heat rises and you sweat. It is rare that the itchiness is accompanied by symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and low blood pressure. But this is more likely to occur if large areas of skin are exposed to light and in severe cases.


Treatment For Disturbing Skin Changes

There are no guidelines for the treatment of skin itching. Different treatments have been used with variable success. Currently considered first options are high-dose antihistamines, avoidance of sun exposure, use of broad-spectrum sunscreens, and dark clothing photoprotection.

In the case of itchy skin caused by skin dryness, you can treat it with regular use of a moisturizer and a humidifier during drier times of the year. Also, avoid using strong soaps or cleansers that can dry your skin further. Similarly, monitor yourself for other signs and protect yourself from the sun if possible to minimize exposure. To treat the itchiness, using aloe vera or calamine lotion can help.

In addition, use the following strategies to prevent itching episodes:

  • Get out of the sun, and avoid the sun when it’s strongest, from 10 am to 4 pm. Stay indoors or in the shade.
  • Stop using any medications and products that cause photosensitivity.
  • Use protective items, including wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, pants, and window films to block the sun’s rays.
  • Wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Reapply every two hours or more often if you’re sweating or swimming.
  • Place cool, damp clothes on the affected areas of your skin.
  • Take a cool shower or bath to stop the itch.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Take an antihistamine, which is available over the counter.


To avoid itchy skin, you have to stay out of the sun, wear cool clothing, and avoid other factors that raise your body temperature. An antihistamine taken orally can be helpful.

Some medications and medical conditions can cause itching with or without any heat or sun exposure. Your doctor can diagnose, suggest treatment options, and make sure there are no other underlying causes.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies That Can Help

  • Avoid triggers.
  • Use a nonprescription anti-itch drug.
  • Apply an anti-itch cream or lotion if the itching persists.
  • Wear loose, smooth-textured cotton clothing.
  • Protect your skin from the sun.
  • Track your symptoms.

Foods That Can Help Manage Your Symptoms

why your body itches in the sun
  • Most vegetables.
  • Fresh meat.
  • Certain varieties of fresh fish, including salmon, cod, and trout.
  • Dairy products other than cheese and yogurt.
  • Bread.
  • Pasta and rice.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons



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