Thursday, January 22, 2009


After reading Nixxy's blog and finding out that she is allergic to formaldehyde, it got me thinking about my own strange allergic reactions. And in sharing this I hope to maybe find someone else out there that has the same thing as me, and can maybe shed some light on it for me.

My hands are allergic to the sun. They haven't always been this way, it only started when I was about 21. During the summer I can not have my hands exposed to the sunlight or I will be in severe pain in a few short hours.
My hands will literally swell up. They were so swollen one time after a trip to the lake I couldn't bend my fingers. I couldn't button my pants, I couldn't drive because I couldn't wrap my fingers around the steering wheel. However, not only do they swell, the itch like I have poison ivy. My hand will get tons of these little bumps that are filled with liquid and they itch like crazy. If I itch, it will break open those little liquid filled bumps and more will form.
I have tried rubbing sun block in - doesn't help at all! I have tried to lay on top of my hands if I am laying out, but that doesn't help me when I am in the water trying to play with my son or just cool off.
This basically effects me only in the summer if I spend more than an hour with my hands exposed, otherwise it doesn't effect me at all.
The only thing I have thought of to help me in the summer have a normal water and sun filled time is to wear gloves. I went to walmart about 2 years ago and purchased a pair of women's softball batting gloves. I unveiled these on a float trip on a very busy holiday weekend at a local river here in Oklahoma. I can't tell you the amount of attention those gloves got me, but my hands didn't swell up at all.
This is a picture of the exact gloves that I wear:

Ok, so everyone that knows me, knows I wear gloves in the swimming pool or laying out or at the lake. And sure it's funny, we all get lots of good laughs out of it. I would however, like to be a normal person and not have to live this way.

SO long story short, I would love to know if anyone knows of someone like this, or if you yourself share this strange allergy with me. Please, if anyone knows anything I would really really appreciate it. IF not, I will be found this summer in the pool with my batting gloves on :)

p.s. YES I have been to SEVERAL dermatologists about this. Their consensus is: stay out of the sun. I'm sorry, but I have an active 6 yr old son, that isn't an option.


Katee said...

Wow, never heard of such a thing! It is so strange that it is just your hands. At least you were able to find cute pink and white gloves :) But I can imagine what a huge pain in the butt that must be for you. Luckily I don't have any allergies.

Colette said...

I've never heard anything like the part about it only happening in the sun, but the actual reaction, the itchy bumps & the severe swelling, sound a lot like what I get when I have a really bad eczema outbreak. The answer the doctors gave you sounds like that old joke ("Doc, it hurts when I do this" "Well, don't do that") but in the event that you unexpectedly can't avoid being in the sun, or forget your gloves or something, you might consider seeing if you can get a treatment. After an incident in high school where I itched my inner elbows bloody & so swollen I could barely bend my arm, I got a prescription for Triamcinolone Acetonide cream. I'm not sure if anything like it is sold over the counter, I've had my 'scrip for several years, but it's the only thing ever to help when I get an outbreak, and it kills the itch, brings down the swelling, and gets rid of the little bumps.

Sorry for the long comment but I hope some of the info is helpful for you!

Nixxy said...

Wow - that makes my quip about you being a "ray of sunshine" seem kind of ironic now, huh? I have absolutely nothing to complain about!!
Yes, I've heard of this condition. As you can imagine, being in the sun is kind of inescapable in Australia (hence the large rate of skin cancer here), and I have heard of people basically trapped in their houses because of it. It's rare but not unheard of.

From what I've heard there is no cure - like most allergies, once you've got it, you've got it. Alot of people suspect it's a "modern malaise" brought on by the amount of chemicals in our everyday lives. The sun basically causes a reaction with the chemicals built up under your skin. Certainly your hands would bear the brunt of most chemical exposure just by living your normal life!

Do your fingers have to be covered up, too? Cos I see quite a few people wearing skin coloured UV protective fingerless gloves from the Cancer Foundation here so they don't get sunburned (and get skin cancer) while driving, etc. They're a little less bulky than your softball gloves, cute as they are...
I found some over here -

- in the US, if they're any use to you?

Rosey (o: said...

Yeah, i've heard of this too!! There is a professional cyclist - David Miller - who has this sun allergy, and the guys who commentate races like the Tour de France etc often mention it when he comes on camera. In fact there are a number of cyclists who have suffered from it! If you google "pro cyclist sun allergy" and or David Miller sun allergy" you will get masses of hits (o:

Don't give up hope - there are things out there to help you! You just haven't hit a knowledgeable, sympathetic doctor yet!

Sasha said...

Bless your heart! But I do like your gloves! :-)

Brooke said...

KATEE - Yes, you are very lucky! Yes, I guess the pink and white gloves are pretty cute if I do have to wear gloves :)

COLETTE - Thanks for the comment. My son has eczema, luckily as he has gotten older he is starting to grow out of it. I don't believe what I have is that, this is much much more itchy, it is worse than poison ivy itchy. It is an intense itch I can't even describe.

NIXXY - Unfortunatly it is on my fingers. In betwen my fingers is the worse. I checked out the website to see if maybe there were full hand gloves, but didn't see any - shucks! Thanks for your help.

ROSEY - Well I have basically given up on going to derm. and trying to get them to find out what this is, since none have seemed interested (been to at least 5 dermatologists). So now my only hope is trying to find out what it is on my own and then going to the doctor and seeing if they can say yes that is what it is or not that isn't what it is. I really appreciate your input, I wll check out David Miller and see if this is the same thing as his. Thanks so much.

SASHA - The gloves are pretty cute, and for sure a conversation piece :)

Olga said...

I am allegic to the sun AND to sunscreens so i avoid the sun like the plague and wear sunblock.

I live in the Caribbean and can't go to the beach how's that for weird geographical accident, i think i should've been born a Swedish or Finish, he,he,he!

You would think im very fair but i'm not, my skin is light olive.

On another note: Dinky Butt! Dinky Butt! Cute widdle Dinkity Butt!!!

Brooke said...

OLGA - You live in the caribbean? Oh, I'm so jealous :) Maybe me and Dinky need to take a vacation . . . . .

lol - I knew you of all people would know that was a little dinky butt up there. it needs a little pinch

Olga said...

Come on over! long as i can pinch Dinky's butt.

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