FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER £80

Life with a sun allergy: "Summer is not the worst of it”

Life with a sun allergy: "Summer is not the worst of it”

Tell us who you are and where you’re from. 

I am Jacob Varghese. I am the CEO of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and I live in Melbourne. 

Describe your lifestyle. 

When I am not in lockdown, I am an office worker. I travel quite a bit for work, but mostly visiting other offices. I am the father of three school-age girls. On the weekends (when we are not in lockdown) we like to go for bushwalks, bike-rides and picnics. We love family holidays in the mountains or near the water. 

How did you discover your skin health issue (sun urticaria)? 

When I was 25, I visited Vietnam for a holiday. With lots of exposure to sun, I started to develop very itchy rashes.  This then persisted when I came home after sun exposure. When I came home, I saw a doctor who told me about sun urticaria, and it has been a feature of my life ever since. 

How does this skin issue affect your everyday life?  

I am cautious about spending too much time in direct sun. I try to sit in the shade, wear a hat and so on. As long as I am sun smart, it doesn’t affect my everyday life that often. It can be irritating when I am driving on a sunny day - the sun gets on my hands before I realise and then I can end up with extremely itchy hands while trying to focus on driving. 

If you played a round of golf on a hot summer’s day, would you be affected? 

Funnily enough, summer is not the worst of it. I tend to be most affected in spring. But yes, if played a round of golf in shorts with no hat, it would be a nightmare. 

Are there certain areas more affected than others? 

I get especially bad reactions in places that don’t see a lot of sun. So, wearing shorts in spring, I will get badly affected on my calves. If I wear sandals or wade in shallow water, I get it on the tops of my feet. If my face is in direct sunlight, I will get it on my cheeks and forehead. The back of my neck is also vulnerable. 

What happens as a result of a flare up? 

My skin gets very red, very warm to touch and it is incredibly itchy - you cannot concentrate on anything else until the itch has died down. It lasts only about 30 - 60 minutes after I have gotten out of the sun. It is more annoying than debilitating.  

Do you know how it came about? 

I have no idea to be honest. No one in my family has the same issue. 

Do you regularly visit a dermatologist? 

No. I have seen a dermatologist once, who diagnosed sun urticaria and advised me to be sun smart and take over-the-counter antihistamine if I get a flare up. 

What is your attitude to sun protection?  

I try hard to make sure that affected areas don’t get direct sunlight on them, which is mostly a matter of shade and clothing. I have found that sunscreen doesn’t necessarily prevent a flare up. So, I try to make sure I am sitting in the shade when eating outdoors and to wear sensible clothes. 

Have you heard of UPF clothing; do you know what it means? 

I have now! It means clothing designed to block out ultraviolet light. 

Do you know the difference between wearing a Solbari shirt compared to a regular shirt? 

I guess Solbari clothing provides more protection from the UV light that causes sun urticaria. That is great because a lot of summery clothes will let the sun through. Having an itchy back is a true misery! 



Also in Solbari Blog

Should You Wear Sunscreen Indoors?
Should You Wear Sunscreen Indoors?

Sunscreen is widely known to be used for the, well, sun! So, is it necessary to wear it indoors as well? The answer is: Yes! This blog will explore the topic of wearing sunscreen even when you aren't in the sun and what health benefits that skincare routine can bring - from protecting from UV exposure through windows to helping prevent wrinkles down the road.  
Read More
Do you need sunscreen if your cosmetics has built in SPF?
Do you need sunscreen if your cosmetics has built in SPF?

Many makeups and moisturisers claim to contain SPF, but can we rely on these products as our sole protection from the sun? This blog post will explain why it's important to continue using proper sunscreen and sun protective clothing to prevent sun damage in our day-to-day lives.  
Read More
Is the Sun Good for Your Skin?
Is the Sun Good for Your Skin?

Sunlight has many health benefits to provide as long as exposure is maintained at a healthy level. This blog will share the benefits of sunlight and how it can make our skin healthier. This blog will also include tips on how to keep sun exposure safe to enjoy optimal health benefits while avoiding any sun-related health risks. 
Read More