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Sun Sensitivity
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9 posts in this topic

I was diagnosed close to a year ago. I've been gluten free since, with good results. My six month follow up showed great improvement. Since I was pretty asymptomatic prior to diagnosis, this was good to hear.

However,this summer I have become extremely sun sensitive. After even a very short time in the sun, I break out in a painful and itchy rash. It doesn't look like the pictures of DH, but more like a bumpy sun burn.

Does anyone else out there have sun sensitivity-- and what do you do besides staying covered up or inside?

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I'm extremely sensitive to the sun and get burned quite easily, with splotchy red patches. The sensitivity did worsen with age - perhaps also because I get less holidays and less time at the seaside and my skin is less accostumed to the sun, but also because it gets drier with age. However I never connected it to celiac disease and in my case frankly I think it is not connected. I can offer however some practical wisdom hoping it won't sound too lame

1) If you are in the sun, put on sunscreen. Sounds stupid and obvious, but it may not be if you are not used to it. Protection 50 will insure that the sun does not touch you at all. Protection 40 or 30 is a good barrier. I prefer milky emulsions to creams, easier to spread and less oily. Even in the city you can put sunscreen on your face and arms (women do it all the time, lots of face creams have an inbuilt sunscreen factor)

2) Use as wide a hat as possible when on the beach and use caps in the city or a stylish Borsalino-like hat

3) Buy and use a sun umbrella when on the beach (I love swimming and being on the beach but I couldn't survive without a sun umbrella)

4) Wear loose cotton or linen shirts and pants if you feel that you have to stay covered.

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In the early days of my recovery (and leading up to it for many years) I seemed to have lost the ability to handle any sun exposure. I would burn easily and had to be very cautious. Have they been monitoring your vitamin D levels as you recover? I was put on megadoses of D3 and still my D levels were not adequately recovering. When I added a lot of healthy fats and cholesterol from trusted sources, pastured butter, coconut oil and lots of pastured eggs and stayed away from vegetable fats like crisco, corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil, my D levels began to rise and I was able to begin tolerating sun exposure once again. I went from being pale and pasty to having a more natural color year round. I don't overdo exposure but certainly tolerate it much better now. The paradox of sunscreen is that you are spreading a toxic substance on the body's largest organ that blocks the body's ability to synthesize vitamin D naturally. The mechanism of producing it requires ample supplies of cholesterol, so if you are trying to eat low fat/low cholesterol it seems you would be setting up the mechanism where you remove the very things that the skin needs sun exposure to make for good vitamin D levels. Vitamin D which is now being understood to be crucial in the prevention of all sorts of disease mechanisms.

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A rash similar to heat rash after a day at the beach was one of the first things I noticed when I started getting sick. I still get a similar rash now if I go to the beach. I am not sure if it is celiac related but I hope with the supplements and gluten-free diet it will eventually go away. I try and stay in the shade as much as possible and put on sunscreen.

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You're making me think that my extreme sun sensitivity is not a matter of age but of depleted skin resources due to celiac disease... who knows! It would be a nice thing...

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Thank you for the thoughtful and thorough responses.

 

I've been extra careful to stay in the shade and to load up on sun screen - and the rash has cleared up. I use to be a "sun worship-per" as a teen - and maybe now I am paying the price. 

 

I never had this problem before - so I was wondering if it is a celiac connection. I tend to blame all of my woes on celiac! <_<

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I noticed it seemed to be worse the first summer after I went gluten free. I had never had the itchy bumps you described (Polymorphous Light Eruption) pior to that.

I deffinetly belive it is celiac related.

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I had polymorphous light eruption for years, but found after I stopped eating gluten it actually went away. During the PLE my dermatologist had me apply 50+ spf sunscreen Plus a lotion that contained zinc oxide.  This would help keep the rash/hives at bay.

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I get this. Took me awhile to figure out what it was. 

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