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 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.
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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)
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.
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.I’ve linked the image to Amazon for those who live outside the UK. For those of you who live in the UK, here is a link to Boots
This is a lotion which has been specifically created for people who suffer from sun allergies / PMLE (polymorphic light eruption). It’s perfect for those who are sensitive to stronger suncreams as it has natural ingredients – Alpha-glucosylrutin and Vitamin E, it is 99% natural to be exact and fragrance free.
Shirudo is slightly different as it’s a lotion not a suncream, meaning a suncream needs to be applied on top. This is where you can use a natural one that works for you without having to worry whether it will protect from PMLE as Shirudo will do this job!
Read my review here : Shirudo Lotion Review
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.
Good for calming down any reactions. It’s also perfume-free.
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.
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–
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..
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:–
Please note that I have only used this after the injection, but was very happy with it.–
Especially for prickly heat. They have a whole great range of these!–
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PS. If you are in a rash (or not) you can get a 30 trial with FREE unlimited next day delivery from Amazon here:—
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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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Please note that this article includes affiliate links. This doesn’t cost you anything more. Most of all, I only recommend products that I trust and use myself unless stated otherwise.