Solar lentigo, why you are hypersensitive to the sun and what to do

A large group of those who are now called allergic to the sun, or intolerant to UV rays. Hypersensitive to light Of sun they react excessively to heat, almost like those who are hypersensitive to certain foods, who when they taste a small piece have a rash so violent that simple erythema (we have all known it at least once) seems like a walk in the park.

But a skin reaction doesn’t have to be so dramatic to warn us. On the contrary. There are marks and spots that just look ugly to look at, but they are not to be underestimated. And for once we are not only dealing with moles and melanomas, which are always frightening to everyone, but with solar lentigos. And no, they are not the “nice” freckles. A great expert, Dr. Giovanni Chiarellidermatologist at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

Doctor Chiarelli, why so many people with skin problems in the sun?

We always talk about climate change but it is in this period that we realize, and on our skin, what it means to have a constantly worsening ozone hole. We get burned, and not only!

Did people in general understand that they must protect themselves?

Unfortunately not yet, which is why we need to insist on awareness campaigns and carry out checks. This climate has really created a more aggressive sun, especially with certain skins. Yet I still have patients who ask me if they can make a lamp (as if it “protects” by preparing the skin … No!) Or use low protections such as 8 or 12: you have to put 50 from the first to the last day! Sometimes it is possible to pass, in specific cases and on the recommendation of the specialist, to 30, but never go below.

But there are those who want to get a tan, how do you do it?

If Nature has not given them a phototype that allows it without ever getting burned (and in any case even these lucky ones must protect themselves), or they have skin with different moles, tanning is not possible, unless you want to go through it to get it. sunburn, and then rashes and peeling, and then all over again. It is not life, but above all it is not healthy and it is risky over time, let’s finally take note of it.

Are there sun allergy sufferers?

Basically yes: they are those people who suffer from solar reactive dermatitis, called polymorphic dermatitis alone. Usually the problem starts with a normal erythema (red spots on the skin), but then it turns into an increasingly strong reaction, with papules, insect bites-like wheals that give very strong itching. It’s a kind of solar urticaria (therefore more serious than the classic erythema) that affects where you have exposed the skin to the sun (especially the chest) and every time you expose it again the reaction will be worse, as in food allergies. Women are most affected by polymorphic dermatitis because they have thinner and more sensitive skin.

How do you protect yourself from polymorphic solar allergy-dermatitis?

Protections are not enough and avoid the usual hottest times. It is necessary to prepare in time, at least one month before sun exposure, having a prescription prescribed by the specialist solar supplement which contains various protective substances among which a noteworthy for effectiveness is the polypodium, a tropical fern that has strong antioxidant, soothing and protective properties. The supplement should be taken throughout the summer season (three months), plus a month later. Then pay attention to the filters to use: even excellent sunscreens can cause reactions and allergies, it depends on your hypersensitivity. They must be chosen in time with the dermatologist and with various options that can be changed as needed and for safety.

If the allergic person is hypersensitive, what are the characteristics of who has sensitive skin?

She has skin that reddens easily, in both heat and cold, particularly on the face. With sun exposure the capillaries dilate and in general, having a very reactive skin, tends not to tolerate any product on the face, even if the substance used has only one or two excipients. The result is irritative dermatitis. These people can not give up the sun, but they must use protections designed for sensitive skin (there are AR sunscreens, anti-redness) and follow the doctor’s prescriptions.

Aside from allergy sufferers and white complexions with clear eyes, who should be watched more by the rays?

Those who already have on the skin of the solar lentigos, that is, spots that are lesions that show how one was burned years before and in what part of the body. It is no coincidence that they are more common among the over forty, generations where the prevention of skin cancers was still not widespread and known.

How are these solar lentigos made?

They are irregular, small or even large patches (such as a fingerprint, for example) of a color ranging from yellow to brown. They are not moles, they are not freckles (small and numerous), but not even simple imperfections (someone mistakenly calls them age spots): they are precisely the visible trace of where the sun has done damage and can turn into lentigo maligne, i.e. skin cancers (they are a kind of melanoma). They affect the face, but also the back and neckline, and can appear a little all over the body. They should always be protected from the sun with the maximum filter at 50. With the dermatoscope, an optical instrument that magnifies the images like a microscope, the specialist can make the differential diagnosis. So let’s show the dermatologist these spots too, not just the moles.

Can we be safe with protection 50 on the lentigo? Are there any other specific new products that can help us?

Yes, if we spread the cream well 50 every hour on face spots, and at least every two hours on the body. Today then practically many of the most important cosmetics houses have created specific lines to protect particular dermatological problems in the sun: solar lentigos are among these, but there are also products for actinic keratosis (see table), acne (non-fat gels ), melasma or taking beach activities into account. The Water Lotion for example, which even if they run a little on the eyes while running, do not burn and continue to protect.

Are there parts of the body that we need to protect that we don’t usually think about?

Yes. I am cuts, scars and burns. So I’m not just talking about dated scars, but also about those trivial cuts we make on holiday in the open air or with physical activity, or those small burns that remain after we burn ourselves while cooking. They must be protected with powerful sticks, otherwise they become brown spots that no longer go away from the skin.

Is there a “type” of sun that doesn’t hurt?

Yes, and that’s it from 18 onwards and before 10. For children even after 9.30 it is late and the rays become at risk of carcinogenesis.

But are people starting to understand what they really risk?

By dint of repeating it, yes, but there are still too many who realize the danger when the relative, the acquaintance or friend incurs a skin tumor, which precisely because of the climate and the incorrect and not very prudent lifestyles have increased a lot. Then you really worry and finally fix the visit.

That weird orange tan

Recently, the fashion of preparing do-it-yourself supplements based on natural ingredients is raging. “Long live nature, of course, but if you eat too many carrots (more than half a kilo a day), maybe you will protect yourself from UV rays from the inside (and that’s not enough), but your skin will take on a color that changes from yellow to orange, it can also be seen on the palms and soles of the feet, ”explains the specialist. «They are the most popular i pumpkin smoothies, as well as carrots. But better a specific supplement recommended by the dermatologist, which has controlled doses and is effective ».