PMLE : What it is and how you can treat it at home

PMLE or Polymorphous Light Eruption is a rash caused by sun exposure in people who are sensitive to sunlight and artificial UV rays exposure.
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These rashes usually appear as red, tiny bumps or slightly raised patches of skin. One is most likely to fall victim to PMLE during spring and early summer when a person's exposure to sunlight increases. This rash may recur and is likely to become rare as the summer progresses. While PMLE may disappear within 10 days, those with severe or persistent rashes may need treatment with medication. The rash typically appears on exposed areas of the body such as the face, upper chest, front of the neck and arms. Immediately consult a doctor if the rash is widespread, painful and accompanied by a fever.


The exact cause of PMLE isn’t really known. The rash appears in people who have developed sensitivity to components of sunlight, especially ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or other sources, such as laptop screens and tanning beds. This sensitivity activates the immune system activity that causes a rash. Anyone can fall prey to PMLE but women, teens and those in their early 20s, fair skinned people and  those with a family history of the condition are especially susceptible. If you experience any rashes after exposure to sunlight, here’s how you can treat it at home till you get medical help :

Treating the itching

Apply anti-itch cream or take antihistamines to control the itching. Do not actually itch the affected areas. Leave blisters and rashes alone. Itching may lead to bleeding and infection, and prevent healing!

Using cold compresses

Apply a towel dampened with cool tap water to the affected skin, or take a cool bath. You can also wrap a few ice cubes in a towel and pat the affected areas.

Avoid the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM

The sun's rays are most intense during this time, so try to schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day. Stay indoors, close the windows and draw the blinds to avoid any contact with the sun. You may also turn on the AC.

Use sunscreen

Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30. Slather the sunscreen all over the exposed areas of your body at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. Re-apply every two hours. You can also cover up i.e. wear tightly woven clothing , full sleeves, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses for maximum protection.

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