How to Travel with Prickly Heat & Sun Allergy / PMLE



It has taken me years (more, less 10) to find products that can help me with both of my skin conditions – Prickly Heat and Polymorphic Light Eruption (PMLE).

I hope this post can help some of you that are struggling with them too..

How to Travel with Prickly Heat & Sun Allergy / PMLE

 

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat is a pretty common skin condition that causes your skin to itch and get hundreds of raised, little red spots. You can get it anywhere on the body but mainly neck, face, back, thighs and chest.

It is mainly caused by hot temperatures, where your body’s sweat glands become blocked. This then turns into excessive sweating and it usually appears where the skin is covered with clothing the most.

Polymorphic Light Eruption (PMLE) 

Polymorphic light eruption is a skin condition caused by exposure to the sun, the unfortunate people that get it have developed a sensitivity to sunlight, otherwise known as photosensitivity.

Most often it occurs in areas that are covered in the winter months and then suddenly exposed in the summer months. The rash looks very similar if not the same to the one caused by prickly heat, but is much more difficult to handle.

There are different levels of PMLE, it is believed that phototherapy can help but for me personally – it just made it worse. Other than that, the recommended solution is to stay out of the sun.. which is not ideal.

. . .

PMLE

[read more about PMLE here]

A few years ago after testing an ENDLESS amount of different products and spending ALOT of money, I found one product that can helps my skin during the summer. A factor 60+ suncream UVA & UVB for kids which I got given by my auntie from Poland. I kept using it for a couple of years until it’s been discontinued. What a shocker.

After that I thought enough is enough, I decided to travel through North America where I was going to be camping a lot during hot weather. I couldn’t have another waisted summer due to the annoying skin condition and I was done with it. I wish.

I have spent weeks researching how I can prevent my skin from getting out of control during my travels and found a few products that can make a big difference. I know people who managed to get prickly heat fully under control with the products I have listed below. When it comes to PMLE, they might not prevent it 100% but should honestly help A LOT.

Prevention For Both Prickly Heat & PMLE

(One of the main things you should look at when buying a suncream
is that it protects you against UVB & UVA)

 

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Eucerin Sun Cream Gel and Allergy Protection

This must be one of the best suncreams out there to use for PMLE (and there isn’t many).

This Eucering cream absorbs very quickly and does not irritate the skin. It contains a 3-dimensional protection system, which pairs both mineral and organic UVA/UVB filters with the natural cell protection of antioxidant licorice extract.

 

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Ultrasun Extreme Sun Lotion SPF50+ (or 30)

Another good suncream which is specifically designed for sensitive skin. The label says it only needs to be applied once a day, but I do it every few hours for extra safety.

 

Soltan Sensitive Hypoallergenic Suncare Lotion

This one is my favourite after the Eucerin suncream. It’s cheap (£6) and a great alternative to the more serious creams, saying that. Boots did so incredibly well here, this Soltan suncream is specifically formulated for sensitive skin, protects against prickly heat and has a 5 star UVA rating.

It actually saved my butt when my skin was getting out of control while travelling SE Asia as the Boots in Thailand stocks it as well.

 

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Eucerin After Sun Lotion

Good for calming down any reactions. It’s also perfume-free.

 


Cetirizine – Hayfever and Allergy Tablets

Standard antihistamine tablets which I don’t move anywhere without.
I used to get them prescribed by the doctors, then started buying them myself.

THEN, I realised I can get these for a fraction of the standard price online – the same ingredients as the (much more) expensive ones! Winnings.

 



 

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Shirudo AGR+E Antioxidant Moisturising Lotion

This is a lotion which you apply before the suncream, it’s made from 99.9% natural ingredients and it’s fragrance-free.

The reviews on this are really good, the only slightly annoying thing is that you still need to re-apply it every 2 hours with the suncream but then whoever has pmle is used to that anyway.

I didn’t get the chance to try this out yet as the delivery got messed up and I never received the product.. so I can’t give my own review on this.

Update: I have now had the chance to give Shirudo a try and you can read my review here :
Shirudo Lotion Review

 

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La Roche-Posay Thermal Spa Water Spray

This one is a natural antioxidant designed especially for sensitive skin, It cools it down when it’s irritated.

You know when your skin is burning from all kinds of irritations and you walk into the sea – it then burns slightly more, but after you start to feel so much better? This is pretty much the same thing.

Note : it’s not a good idea for serious irritations.

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When Things Start To Get
Out of Control 

 

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Elocom or Another Steroids Cream

This has to be prescribed by the doctors and you don’t want to overuse it, but I find this is the only thing that helps to get rid of my skin rash when it gets bad. As it contains steroids, using it on the face or other sensitive areas is highly discouraged.

 

Now.. If none of the above help..

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Solu-Medrol Injection

Last summer when I was volunteering at (my favourite) festival in Croatia, my skin just simply couldn’t handle both the sun and camping conditions. I woke up the first night with a burning sensation over my whole body and had no choice other than to go to the welfare tent and try to ask for the ‘miracle’ injection that I read about online one day.

The doctor agreed that we need to go ahead with it and said: “if this doesn’t help, then nothing will.” Okaaayyy..

After a couple of hours my burning, red skin started turning back into it’s normal colour and I could sit down without jumping back up again from the pain. Within two days I barely had any rash left and instead of using factor 50 I went down to 15 (still UVB & UVA). I finally felt like a ‘normal’ human being for the rest of my holiday.. which was almost a month!

As I said, this is the last resort, however I’ve heard that it’s a pretty standard procedure in hot climate countries such as Spain etc. as many holiday commers struggle with the strong sun conditions.

Update : I have tried asking for this injection in Asia, and they don’t seem to have the exact same one. They had ones with the same ingridients and as much as they did help, they weren’t as successful as the one above.

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A few other products that I’ve used and can recommend especially for prickly heat:

 

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Riemann P20 Once A Day 10 Hours Sun Protection

Please note that I have only used this after the injection, but was very happy with it.

 

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Magicool Plus Prickly Heat Spray

Especially for prickly heat. They have a whole great range of these!

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Other posts you might be interested in :

 

 

I hope this helps!

If you know anyone who suffers from the above conditions, please share this post with them as it can be very hard to find something that can help.

It could save them hours of research and most importantly, could make their summers a bit easier to handle.

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  • I suffer from PMLE, and have suffered for the last 20 years or so. Finding your blog is both helpful and so encouraging. I don’t know anyone who suffers the way I do, and I too like the idea of spending at least a few days of each year on the beach or in a park with family and friends. I will definitely try some of the products you have suggested. I have had pretty decent results with MD Solar Science sunscreen products, but certainly not total prevention during long days in the sun. My #1 method of prevention is simply ‘Avoid the Sun’. Anyway, I really enjoy the idea of reading about your travels and knowing that you know first hand what this condition feels like and how it can be quite hard to handle. Thx for sharing your experiences!

    • Hello Dahila,
      Thank you so much for your message. It means a lot to me and encourages me to keep writing about it!
      I have never tried the MD Solar Science products but will definitely look into it!
      Lots of love , Eli xxx

  • Thank you for posting I have PMLE and I libe in NYC and when spring starts my neck and arms flair up I feel like hot oil is burning fans stinging my skin. I’ll try some of the lotions you have mentioned! Thank you!!!

    • Hello Yami,
      Thank you for your comment! I also just use pure coconut oil (night time) for the areas that are less affected. hopefully this can help xx

  • Thank you for the interesting read. I also have pmle, awful isn’t it affecting holidays and summer months.
    I have tried a tablet called Mepacrine which has been mostly successful.

  • This is so helpful Eli, I am still looking for products that will work for me and will give your recommendations a try. Thank you.