PMLE: Polymorphous Light Eruption
Last year, I noticed that I had what looked like mosquito bites on the left side of my neck. It just didn't make sense. I knew that I had not been bitten by anything, but they kept appearing for several months. I tried changing my shampoo, laundry detergent, fabric softener, anything that I thought might be touching my neck. (I even started to wonder if I had bed bugs.) Then I went to the beach and put on a bathing suit, and my stomach and back broke out and itched like crazy. I realized it was the sun, and it was affecting the left side of my neck because the sun hits me there when I am driving. I went to a dermatologist and he confirmed my fears, but didn't really give me any tools to deal with the situation. Just told me to stay out of the sun and use sun block.
I've used several types of sunblock, but the only one that seems to work is NoAD, despite the fact that they say they block both uva and uvb rays. It's unrealistic for me to stay out of the sun. We go to the beach 2 to 3 times per year, and we take our boys wakeboarding every spare weekend that we have. For the most part, the NoAd works, but I still managed to get sun exposure on my shoulder blades, and it has been rashy and itchy for about 3 weeks now. The biggest problem is the length of time that the rash hangs around. Last year, I had places on my neck that stayed for a couple of months and it just looks so unattractive.
I've been reading up on it and have an appoitment with another dermatologist. I've read that the more exposure you get, the less it breaks out. I know this to be true, because my neck, face, arms do not break out now, because they are exposed all of the time. Has anyone else had experience with this? Have you tried phototherapy, and does it work? Are there any medications that are good about clearing it up quickly? Which types of medicines take the itch away the best? Is there a sunscreen that you know of that is more effective than most? I will ask the doctor all of these questions, but my appointment isn't until next week and I would like to hear from anyone who has been through this. TIA