Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis is Similar to Sunburn
Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis is known as photodermatitis and is an inflammatory skin reaction having a strong resemblance to sunburn.
After radiation, for example, the reactivity of the skin is increased by photosensitizing substances and hence the reaction on the skin after it is sunburn-like.
Drugs can also cause phototoxic eruptions.
When Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis occurs, there is a hyperpigmentation of the skin, especially in the areas which are exposed to the sun. Also, if the skin is exposed to agents containing photosensitizing substances like coal tar and certain specific perfumes, drugs, plants and even sunlight, dermatitis is the result.
Another name for Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis is sun poisoning. It is the reaction of the skin to the UV rays of the sun, or it may be termed as photoallergy.
Sometimes the cause may just be medication or a skin product like sunscreen or a vitamin deficiency. A photo test is conducted by doctors to diagnose the ailment.
Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis can also be caused by citrus fruits.
There is another type of Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis which can be caused by textiles. This is also called the "bikini dermatitis" because it is a type of hyperpigmentation that the patients develop after wearing bikini bathing suits.
The dye in the bathing suits causes the Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis in some of the individuals.
Often there is a swelling and a burning sensation on the skin. The skin starts peeling off after a red itchy rash which resembles small blisters. Sometimes the patient may suffer from nausea.
If you know that you are prone to Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis, avoid the sun as much as possible. Just remain indoors during the day so that your skin does not come in direct contact with sunlight. Cover the whole body to protect yourself, wear long sleeves and long pants and use a wide-brimmed hat if you have to go out in the sun.
If a drug has triggered the reaction, consult your doctor and discontinue it immediately. In any case, if the symptoms are severe, a doctor should be consulted. If you wear sunscreen, make sure that it has a high UVA protection level with at least factor 30.
There are some foods which can definitely help in the treatment of Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis. Beta Carotene found in carrots and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flax seed have been found to be effective. Green tea helps as an antioxidant and protein food is also advisable for people who are suffering from malnutrition.
Consumption of vitamins like B3, C, D and E are also good and Aloe can be used externally as a soothing balm on the skin.
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