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Spring Skin Scares


Surprise Spring sun, plant blooms and frequently changing weather conditions can trigger a multitude of sensitive skin conditions. 1 in 10 visits to GP’s in Spring are due to skin problems.

Spring sun is more dangerous than high summer sun as often it appears suddenly when you are not expecting it and does not feel as warm because of chilly winds.

However despite these disguises, the strength of Spring sun is just as strong as summer sun.

In addition changing seasonal weather from cold to warm in 24-hour periods, increased humidity and the blooming of gardens can all make skin ultra sensitive and prone to flare ups and eruptions.

Here is our guide on how to avoid common Spring Skin Scares for sensitive skin sufferers;

Berloque dermatitis

 This skin condition causes brown mottled patches of skin often mistaken for liver or age spots. The patches usually appear on the neck and side of the face or on the cheeks.

In fact these brown or mottled patches of skin, which can start off red and then darken, are caused by a chemical reaction between UV light and a common ingredient found in many perfumes and colognes called bergapten, derived from the rind of the bergamot lime. Bergapten can also be present in some heavily perfumed skin creams or beauty products.

Spring if often a danger zone for this skin condition to occur as people often either forget to wear SPF creams or they begin to wear more perfumed skin products on their skins due to the warmer weather. Fake tans and many cheap chemical SPF creams contain bergapten.


 – Berloque dermatitis is a permanent skin condition so the only treatments are ones that removed the surface or the skin. Retinol creams can fade small skin patches.

– Acid skin peels can also help fade the patches


– Avoid wearing any perfumes or after shaves or perfume- containing sun creams or products on the face if you are going out in the sun.

– Wear a perfume-free SPF cream (25 SPF +) at all times during Spring sun exposure


Phyto Photodermatitis

Phyto Photodermatitis is an allergic reaction caused by the chemical mix of UV light and the juices produced by certain plants and shrubs that bloom in Spring in most English garden and countryside.

It causes itchy or burning red skin and sometimes a bruise-like rash usually in lines across exposed skin. The skin can also blister. Keen gardeners are at particular risk from this type of Spring skin reaction.

Some plants that can cause Phyto Photodermatitis are hogweed, celery, rhubarb and citrus fruits being splashed on the skin, usually while gardening. The plants juices themselves are harmless but UV light causes a chemical reaction that can cause an allergic reaction on the skin.


–          Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams

–          Calamine lotion will soothe itching.

–          Oat bath soaks


–          Wear gloves, long sleeves and trousers while gardening

–          Wash skin as soon as you have finished gardening in cool bath or shower


Juvenile Spring Eruption

Children can suffer from a skin problem specifically related to Spring. Juvenile Spring Eruption is skin condition that causes itchy small red bumps on the ears which then change into blisters. This is an allergic skin reaction that is triggered by Spring sun.

Juvenile Spring Eruption is caused by a chemical in the blood that absorbs UV radiation and then reacts to it causing a rash. It is more common in boys, usually because they have shorter hair so the ears are more exposed to the sun. The rash can last for up to three weeks and can be very uncomfortable and itchy



–          Prescription steroid creams

–          Antihistamines (usually used if the person also suffers from hay fever)

–          Non-steroid anti-inflammatory skin ointments


– Sun block on the ears from March onwards

– A hat that covers the ears on sunny days in Spring

– Avoid sunglasses with metal arms as the metal may contribute to allergic reactions on the ears


Rhinitis Dermatitis

In Spring, hay fever caused by allergies to pollen in the air are extremely common. These allergies cause eyes to become itchy, swollen and watery and cause frequent sneezing and inflammation of the nasal membranes.

A secondary symptoms of hayfever which can often cause more discomfort than the primary allergic reaction is Rhinitis Dermatitis.

Rhinitis Dermatitis can cause swelling, dryness and itchiness of the skin around the eyes and on the eye lids and around the nostrils. Frequency eye watering and eye wiping and nose blowing causes the skin around the eyes and nose to become swollen, red and very dry.


–   Antihistamines can help reduce the primary symptoms of hayfever and so, in turn, reduce symptoms of Rhinitis Dermatitis but they do not directly treat this condition

–          Non –steroid anti-inflammatory eye treatments for decreasing swelling, redness and itching around the eyes. Steroids should not be used around the eye area.

–          Cold eye compresses can also calm down inflamed skin around the eyes, Green tea bags brewed and then cooled until cold in the fridge work well as cold eye compresses



–          Sunglasses with side protection to block out all UV light, as sun can make allergic eyes worse

– Some anecdotal evidence from aruveydic medicine suggests that putting cold milk daily on the eye lids before the hayfever season kicks off can help prevent symptoms of Rhinitis Dermatitis


Polymorphic Light Eruption

This is a skin condition that is more frequently seen in Spring. It is triggered by sun exposure and causes crops of itchy or burning pink or red raised spots on the arms, chest or lower legs. The spots usually turn to blisters and then dry, scaly red patches.

Polymorphic light eruption effects approximately 15% of the population and is more common in fair skinned women. Shaving or waxing of the legs and arms can put you more at risk of the condition.


–          Prescription steroid ointments

–          Steroid tablets and injections can also be given but side effects include weight gain, bone thinning and immune suppression, so these are not long-term options.



–          Until legs and arms have been exposed gradually to sun with a light tan, try shaving instead of waxing in Spring as shaving makes skin less sensitive than waxing.

–          Avoid fake tans on the legs and arms if exposing these areas to Spring sun

–          Use a non-chemical SPF for sensitive skin on exposed legs and arms from March onwards. If skin is sensitive, many SPF creams can actually causes reactions when exposed to sunlight, making the problem worse, which is why it’s important to use a chemical-free SPF designed for sensitive skin.



Miliaria, commonly knows as prickly heat, causes lots of stinging tiny vivid red bumps in clusters, or sheets that join together. Sometimes it can also cause raised blisters and even acne-like spots. Miliaria affects approximately 30% of the population at some time. Babies are prone to Miliaria as their sweat glands are not fully developed. In addition menopausal women are also more prone to Miliaria due to night sweats.


Miliaria is caused by an inflammation of the sweats glands in often humid conditions. Babies can also often get prickly heat as their sweat glands are not fully developed and so are more prone to inflammation.

Outbreaks occur in covered areas – usually the chest and back, but it can also flare up under the arms and around the groin, the hands and feet.

Spring is a danger zone for Miliaria, as often we find ourselves over-clothed as the mornings are still cold but by midday the sun can be very warm.


– A cool bath

Calming and anti-itching bath soaks

– Aloe vera gel

– Calamine lotion


–          Loose cotton clothing

–          Cool shower immediately after excessive sweating

–          A night fan for cool air circulation




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