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Summer Skin Care

Being a mom of two young and energetic boys in the summer has me in the sun all the time. It becomes increasingly difficult when you have a skin condition called PMLE or Polymorphic Light Eruption. The first time it ever happened to me was on my honeymoon of all places, 13 years ago. My husband, Jim and I were so excited about being out in the blue shallow ocean in Bora Bora and playing with stingrays. It was during the intensely sunny time of the day when we were enjoying feeling the soft slippery stingrays slithering up our legs as they were swimming by. About a day later, I started having red bumps of various shapes on my chest and arms and upper back mostly where I was exposed to sun the most. They were not as itchy as they looked but nonetheless NOT what you want on your honeymoon in Bora Bora where you don’t know where to go get help. Luckily it had not bothered me again, since I’m never out during 10am-2pm on sunny days and I have sunscreen or clothes on or under the shade whenever I’m out in the sun.

However, one other time I was out at my friend’s community pool with kids from 11a-2p. The first 2 hours were fairly cloudy and I made another ONE TIME mistake of not having sunscreen on. We had our homemade sandwich lunch with macaroni salad and chips under the shade. By then the sun came out and we all put sunscreen on and went in the pool where we were for an hour or so. By the next night when I was getting ready to go to bed, I saw these bumps all over my lips and cheeks mostly. Over the following 5 days, the rash got worse to my mid chest, shoulders, arms and uppers back and only a few on the legs. My left arm was much worse since my right side was more under the umbrella where I was sitting. The left shoulder had rash outlining where the sun dress strap was. Thanks to my dermatologist friends, Dr. Shereen Timani and Dr. Marcus Goodman as well as Aristocort and Sarna they are all were helping me get through this much longer lasting PMLE rash.

The real questions is how could I be out in the sun during 10am-2pm and not put on sunscreen because it was cloudy? Two things I preach to my patients not to ever do!! I wanted to share this so my patients understand the damages sun can bring if not protected properly. I absolutely love being out in the sun with my sons doing fun things. I love to be at the pool and at the beach. The benefits of the right amount of sun are very well-known to us all. As long as we remember NOT to do what I did, we won’t have to turn our sun into a ever-present enemy.

Do not stay out between the hours of 10am-2mp. Do wear sunscreen (broad spectrum preferred with zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide) even on a cloudy day if you’re out during those hours for more than an hour. Do wear sunscreen everyday in the face regardless of the weather to prevent premature aging. We make enough vitamin D from sun on our body. Your face should be protected at all times.

Dr. Jean Chapman

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LaserMed Skin & Vein Clinic
2880 Old Alabama Road
Suite 300
Johns Creek, GA 30022
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