Sunshine, hives and atopic eczema

author/source: DrB



Solar Urticaria

  • Urticaria is the medical term for what is also called hives, or nettle rash.
  • It is a type of skin reaction that has many causes.
  • Solar urticaria is a relatively rare type of urticaria. It is found world wide.
  • It can start at any age, but those aged between 20 and 40 are most affected.
  • Itchy wheals appear within minutes on sun-exposed areas, or where clothing is thin.
  • Although the reaction is often relatively brief (less than 2 hours), the sensitivity to sunshine tends to be persistent. Only in some cases it resolves spontaneously.
  • The reaction is often confused with the more common polymorphic light eruption. Here the reaction to sunlight lasts much longer (more than 48 hours).


  • Avoiding direct sunlight


  • Antihistamine medication: needs to be taken regularly, sometimes more than one type at the same time, and at higher doses than normal.
  • Steroid medication by mouth is occasionally required.

Atopy, urticaria and sunshine

  • However, the good news is that solar urticaria is not reported as especially associated with being atopic.