it's a bizarre phenomenon for me. unlike all other allergic reactions i had in the past (the worst one being the one i had when i was 15 years old, probably ate something silly, which lead to poisoning; i took the subway to downtown to see the family doctor, in high collared shirts and hat, because my body was literally full of angry red welts. this resulted to gracious slap on the ass with a steroid shot, which sent everything away in flat fifteen minutes. it was awesome. truly a miracle), this particular one waited for a bit- a good three-four days, till it literally erupted.
a quick search have led to numerous discussions on sun sensitivity and sunscreen allergies. in order to avoid a small sun sensitivity, i ended up getting back a whole a lot of trouble; back in korea, they have a saying close to: try to give a pint, instead ends up receiving a quart. and this is too true at the moment. ha.
my sun sensitivity isnt too bad, actually. it only happens on my neck/shoulder/face, where after a while in the sun, 'prickly heat' appears- but sun does not seem to bother any other areas- ex. legs, arms, torso. but because it can be a quite a nuisance, i have decided to invest in a sunscreen product for the summer. since i have had problems with the generic sunscreens (breakouts and irritation being common reaction), i decided to go to an expensive specialty shop (ie. sephora) and seek advice from the ladies. i explained that i do have a sensitive skin (though how sensitive, i dont really know, as i tend to avoid putting stuff on skin as much as i can), that i want a sunscreen product that will cover upper torso and may be the face. and they recommended this clinique product.
sun is a rare thing in england, even in june. so when the sun was out last wk, i took a slap of the sunscreen and went out and we all had grand time. no major problems that day. then on the day we shipped PO off and had minnow progeny no. 2 for a dinner, i started to notice unhappy skin. then later in that evening, it start to feel itchy, like wildfire sparks on my face. next morning was a quite a rude awakening-
my face and shoulder were covered with this tiny blister-like urticaria, med peeps refer to it as papules. and this skin cells begin to produce generous amo. of histamines. it's a bit late, dont you think? i mean- after four days? really? anyways. i wondered if it's sun allergy- but no, further reading would lead to the case of photosensitive eruption. it is created when an individual had applied sunscreen products which may contain irritants; the irritants must be on the skin and upon exposure to the sun, then it turns into the proper basket case.
what to do? well, there isnt much to do. take some oral anti-histamines, apply topical cortisone creams. only if my lips/throat begin to swell, go see a physicians (which at this point, they will give you those wonderful shots of steroids to make everything go away, i believe. or i can be dreaming as well). but till then, just keep quiet and ride it out. dont scratch as it may break skin.
then it reminded me of this particular facial cream i bought- with spf 15 factor. could they be sharing ingredients? i remember putting it on my face and i ended up having small bumps on my pores, as if i had blocked pores/acnes. it kind of burned and stung a bit, so i gave it away. so i went up to the bathroom to take a quick look at the both jars/tubes. voila. it seems that both octocrylene (a fairly new compound used in high SPF factor cosmetics, less than ten years) and benzophenon compounds are the link between two different products (a daily calming cream for sensitive skin, ironically, and sunscreen with trademarked solar smart compounds) and the irritation/urticaria case.
apparently it is only a small percentage of the population which experiences delayed photosensitivity. lucky me. but i thought it may be of some use for others to hear about this sunscreen allergic reaction, as it is quite surprising and most unpleasant to endure.
with such angry skin, i dare not to step out of the door, which is quite surprising to myself. i always thought that i would be alright with disfigurement and that i would be able to rely on my 'personal strength' to overcome, but on fourth day of close-to-insanity thanks to irritated skin and countless reapplication of topical cortisone cream and ice packs, im starting to doubt this; for instance, i thought of heading out to get some air, then folded the idea when i looked self on the mirror: dotty bumpy red-blotchy face!!
and with another dose of benadryl, im slowly sinking back to sleep.
may be when i wake, i will be clear again. damn you delayed photoallergic eruption. painfully itchy, dotty, temporarily-ugly-monkey sends world her love. but no, i wont come out till this is done with.