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19 Effective home remedies for polymorphous light eruption

The polymorphous light eruption is a medical term which is used to describe sun poisoning. It means that you are super – sensitive to UV rays in sunlight [1]. The exposure to sunlight brings on pimples or blisters which appear on the skin 1 – 4 days after you have soaked some rays and it can last up to two weeks. When you have severe sunburn, then you are likely to feel really sick, with more dramatic symptoms, like headache, chills, fever, vomiting and nausea.

Also, a bad burn can lead to skin infections which require medical treatment. Almost, every single person has experienced sunburn, but if your skin is light sensitive, then this can happen within as little as twenty minutes in the sun. It is thought that polymorphous light eruption is an allergic reaction between UV light – both UVA and UVB rays, and protein in the skin. It is believed that up to 15% of the UK population is affected by the polymorphous light eruption [1].

It is more common in women than men. Usually, it starts before you reach the age of 30 and it can run in families. You can have polymorphous light eruption whatever your skin type is, but people who have fair skin are more commonly affected. If you suffer from polymorphous light eruption, then you need to talk with your doctor before you start using some of the below mentioned home remedies.

Home remedies for polymorphous light eruption

Home remedies for polymorphous light eruption

Green tea extract: This natural cure has high levels of substances called polyphenols. They are powerful antioxidants. Also, it is thought that green tea can help to protect the skin from the sun damage when it is directly applied to the skin. It is thought that this home remedy works by protecting cells from some of the damage caused by UV light, rather than physical blocking it. [2]

Lutein: This is a substance which is found in green vegetables. It is an antioxidant. Many natural health practitioners believe that it is a type of natural sunblock. There are some studies in which are said that the lutein can help to protect against UV – induced skin damage.

Vitamin D: If you have polymorphous light eruption, then you should avoid sunlight during certain times of the year in order to avoid having any symptoms. But this can make you susceptible to lower levels of Vitamin D because the main source of Vitamin D is the sunlight. The skin is producing Vitamin D on exposure to UV light. [3]

If you are avoiding sun to avoid the symptoms of polymorphous light eruption, then you should take Vitamin D supplements. This vitamin is needed for the bone health; reduced inflammation; reduced risk of asthma and allergy; reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. Also, you should eat more foods which have Vitamin D, including milk, eggs, oily fish and fortified foods (such as breakfast and cereals).

Chamomile: This herb is commonly taken as tea. It has been traditionally used in the medicine for skin problems but there are not enough studies to prove that this home remedy can be used as a treatment for polymorphous light eruption. You need to ask your doctor if you can use it for your natural treatment of this condition. If you are allergic to this plant, then you should avoid it. You should be careful if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Cover up: You should wear a hat and sunglasses; long – sleeve shirt and pants and you should cover the exposed skin as much as possible [1]. It is known that the darker and thicker clothing is providing better production than thinner and lighter – colored clothing. If the rashes caused by polymorphous light eruption are common on your hands, then you should wear gloves while driving during the day. [5,6]

Vitamin C: This vitamin is antioxidant. It can help in the treatment of polymorphous light eruption but there are some studies which are controversial so you should talk with your doctor if you can use it as your home remedy.

Aloe Vera: You can use Aloe Vera as your home remedy for polymorphous light eruption because it can help to soothe your skin. You should apply it topically on the affected areas.

Fish oil: This natural cure has anti – inflammatory properties which mean that it can help to minimize the inflammation. It is recommended taking two to three grams of fish oil per day.

Use sunscreen lotion to sun exposure: You should apply the sunscreen liberally to your neck, ears, nose, face and also your back, shoulders and chest if they are exposed [1,4,5,6].

Calendula: There are some studies in which are said that calendula extracts can help to reduce the skin inflammation [7]. You can use it as your home remedy for polymorphous light eruption but talk with your doctor before you start using it so he or she will tell you about the recommended dosage and if it is suitable for you.

Onion: There are some studies in which are said that the alcoholic onion extract on the skin can reduce allergic responses, such as flares and wheals. There should be done a lot more studies in future to be sure if this home remedy can be used for the treatment of polymorphous light eruption. This is a reason why you should ask your doctor if you should use onion as your home remedy for polymorphous light eruption.

Use a cold compress: You should apply a towel dampened with cool tap water to the affected skin. Also, you can take a cool bath.

Leave your blisters alone: This means that if you want to speed up the healing and avoid infection, you should leave blisters intact. If needed, you can lightly cover your blisters with gauze.

Thyme: In the traditional medicine, thyme has been used topically for many different inflammatory skin disorders. There are mixed results about its effectiveness on polymorphous light eruption. You should talk with your doctor if think that thyme can help you in the natural treatment of polymorphous light eruption so in this way you will be sure.

Avoid sun exposure: You should avoid the sun exposure in the middle of the day when the UVB rays are highest in intensity [1]. But the intensity of the UVA rays is relatively unchanged all day so you should also limit the sun exposure in the evenings. It is known that UVA rays can cause polymorphous light eruption.

You should avoid sun exposure through windows because UVA rays are able to penetrate glass. You should be aware that even in shade or under an umbrella, the surrounding surfaces can still reflect the light and indirectly expose your uncovered skin to some UV rays. You should be sure that you are getting all the Vitamin D which you need from your diet and supplementation if it is necessary.

Anthocyanidins: These are powerful antioxidants which are found in the pigments of dark and richly colored fruit, such as red grapes, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. They are often recommended to boost the integrity of the blood vessels because it is thought to help repair collagen in blood vessel wall and capillaries.

Beta – carotene: There are some studies in which are said that the treatment of polymorphous light eruption with beta – carotene can be effective [8]. These people were treated orally with beta – carotene. This natural cure is mostly used in patients who have polymorphous light eruption or actinic prurigo. Those people who are sun – sensitive, should take 25 mg of beta – carotene on daily basis. It should be taken by mouth. [1]

Hardening or toughening: You can increase the resistance of your skin at home. This is known as “hardening”. It involves going outside for short periods in the spring to build up your resistance. Firstly, you should go out for a short period and then you can gradually increase your time to longer. You should be careful not to overdo it. You will start understanding more about how much light triggers your rash and you will be able to judge how long you should stay out. The effects of hardening are lost in the winter so you will have to build up your resistance against in the spring. [9]

Desensitization or UV treatment: There are some cases when it is possible to increase the resistance of your skin to the sun. This is involving visiting a hospital dermatology department three times per week in a period of four to six weeks in the spring [10]. Your skin is gradually exposed to a little more UV light every visit so in this way doctors are trying to build the skin resistance of your skin. The effects of this process are lost in the winter so you should build up your resistance again in the spring.


[1] Hönigsmann H. Polymorphous light reaction. Photodermatology Photoimmunology and Photomedicine. 2008;24(3):155-61.

[2] OyetakinWhite P, Tribout H, Baron E. Protective mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in skin. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2012;2012:560682.

[3] Schweintzger NA, Gruber-Wackernagel A, Shirsath N, et al. Influence of the season on vitamin D levels and regulatory T cells in patients with polymorphic light eruption. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences. 2016;15(3):440-446.

[4] Oakley AM, Ramsey ML. Polymorphic light eruption. StatPearls Publishing LLC. 2020

[5] Taylor CR, Sober AJ. Sun exposure and skin disease. Annual Review of Medicine. 1996;47:181-91.

[6] Kaplan LA. Suntan, sunburn, and sun protection. Journal of Wilderness Medicine. 1992;3:173-96.

[7] Kodiyan J, Amber KT. A review of the use of topical calendula in the prevention and treatment of radiotherapy-induced skin reactions. Antioxidants. 2015;4(2):293-303.

[8] Marini A, Jaenicke T, Grether-Beck S, et al. Prevention of polymorphic light eruption by oral administration of a nutritional supplement containing lycopene, β-carotene, and Lactobacillus Johnsonii: Results from a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine. 2014;30(4):189-94.

[9] Franken SM, Genders RE, de Gruijl FR, et al. Skin hardening effect in patients with polymorphic light eruption: Comparison of UVB hardening in hospital with a novel home UV-hardening device. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2013;27(1):67-72.

[10] Combalia A, Fernandez-Sartorio C, Fusta X, et al. Successful short desensitization treatment protocol with narrowband UVB phototherapy (TL-01) in polymorphic light eruption. Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas. 2017;108(8):752-7.

Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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