Toledo Talk

How do you get a sunburn without the sun?

I know this is a long shot but I have to ask, just in case. I can't believe that I'm the only one this has happened to.

Has anybody else gotten a face and upper chest sunburn when you have NOT been out in the sun? This has happened to me twice this year, both times on cold, calm, cloudy days (in January and this past Saturday) and both times, the burn pattern has mimiced a flash radiation burn of some's flat, bright red, stinging and itchy, and it peels just like a sunburn.

The outline of my open shirt collar against my neck and chest is obvious, the skin under my necklace medallion is pale compared to the red skin around it, and one side of my face and forehead is more burnt than the other side. The sunburn sensitivity even extends up beyond my hairline.

I have not done anything to cause heat exposure, no microwave exposure that I know of, no bright lights except the usual store lights, no new soap, no new face cream, nothing, just riding in my car, doing a little shopping. My only exposure to the outside was to walk from the car to the store and back, then later in the day, my face and chest start to hurt and get red.

My husband says I had a close encounter and just don't remember it (he's soooo sympathetic, lol) but the truth is actually wierder. Both times, I was shopping in the Southwyck area AND at Spring Meadows. In January, I was at Toys R Us on Reynolds and then at Best Buy in SM, Saturday I was at Menards on Airport then drove up Reynolds to go to the Perrysburg Target. This coincidence is freaking me out.

OK, that's about it. I'm going to the doc today to see what he has to say. I'll check back later to see if anyone has any idea what this is. Thanks for listening.


created by nana on Nov 19, 2007 at 11:47:50 am     Comments: 19

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Big misconception... You can totally get a sunburn on a cloudy day. Wear SUNSCREEN, people.

That said, it sounds like you weren't in the sun very long. It's good you are actually seeking the advice of a doctor and not relying on the "interwebs". Good luck.

posted by jhostetler on Nov 19, 2007 at 11:57:40 am     #  

This article,, in Wikipedia gives some interesting facts. Certain perscriptions and oral contraceptives can increase sensitivity to sun. The closer to noon the greater the risk.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Nov 19, 2007 at 12:35:39 pm     #  

Could it have been a wind burn? Other than that I have no idea.

Good luck, I hope that your doc can help you out. Let us know what he/she says.

posted by MaumeeMom on Nov 19, 2007 at 12:58:42 pm     #  

Some people develop a sun allergy

What Is It?

A sun allergy is an immune system reaction to sunlight, most often, an itchy red rash. The most common locations include the "V" of the neck, the back of the hands, the outside surface of the arms and the lower legs. In rare cases, the skin reaction may be more severe, producing hives or small blisters that may even spread to skin in clothed areas.

Sun allergies are triggered by changes that occur in sun-exposed skin. It is not clear why the body develops this reaction. However, the immune system recognizes some components of the sun-altered skin as "foreign," and the body activates its immune defenses against them. This produces an allergic reaction that takes the form of a rash, tiny blisters or, rarely, some other type of skin eruption.

Sun allergies occur only in certain sensitive people, and in some cases, they can be triggered by only a few brief moments of sun exposure. Scientists do not know exactly why some people develop a sun allergy and others do not. There is evidence, however, that some forms of sun allergy are inherited.

let us know what the doctor says - if it's a close encounter, instead, it'll make a great news story.LOL

posted by MaggieThurber on Nov 19, 2007 at 01:02:24 pm     #  

wow, thanks for the quick replies, guys!

j--yeah, I wasn't out that long, only a parking lot walk and I always get my info from 3 sources before I trust it, I beens on da intrawebs a looong time. thx.

olds--thanks for that, I'll check it out when I get home. No meds were in my system in Jan that are there now and BC pills are not in the picture either. I knew about that possibility but didn't check the wiki, might be some new info, thanks.

moms--no, not windburn, both days were calm, tho cold, and last Saturday was a pretty mild day overall. Wish it were that easy, but we had already ruled that out. I'll report back later tonight and let you know. :)

Mags--that's a new one. it occurred to me that it might be something inside instead of outside, but the pattern of the burn, it's not really a 'rash', is so specific on me that I couldn't imagine how it could be coming from inside. The only affected parts are my face and neck, and one side more than the other, it's just too wierd. thanks for your input. I almost hope it's a close encounter, except for the butt probe part.....

ttyl all, thanks.

posted by nana on Nov 19, 2007 at 01:18:22 pm     #  

This happened to my Wife. We went down to Mid-Ohio raceway, about a month ago, and it was cold, rainy, and windy, and my wife got a pretty bad sun burn. She laughed at me, when I put on Sun screen, but you can bet, the next day, she had sun screen on :)

posted by drunkenwildmage on Nov 19, 2007 at 02:27:19 pm     #  

HI mage, thanks for your reply but it's not quite the same thing. I wasn't sitting out in the weather, I wasn't hardly out at all, just walking across a parking lot a couple of times. I always use sunscreen when I need to, after almost being hospitalized with sun poisoning on a trip to Florida in '80. I never laugh at the sun anymore.

hmmmm, I WAS shopping in the south end........


posted by nana on Nov 19, 2007 at 03:02:46 pm     #  

An article entitled:
Sunscreen use actually causes cancer, it doesn't prevent it, says exhaustive scientific research

posted by charlatan on Nov 19, 2007 at 04:03:18 pm     #  

They say everything causes cancer now a days. I think its a government conspiracy to kill us all off

posted by camaroman2125 on Nov 19, 2007 at 07:14:45 pm     #  

actually, cam, I think it's a government conspiracy to make us BELIEVE they're trying to kill us all off. :)

ok, went to the doctor and he has no idea what could have happened, so he gave me a cream to take care of the redness and itching and suggested I see a dermatologist. I'll be healed before I can get in to him, but I just may do that anyway.

It has been suggested that maybe it was radiation from the 2 laptops I set up Saturday afternoon. I was back and forth in front of them for 2-3 hours, doing this and that. I've also been setting up a new machine for a friend of mine for the past week, spending a few hours at her house every night. Could that really be it? (I'm scoffing at myself for even typing this, but I have to get it out of my head.) The thing is, I didn't do that in January. I wasn't anywhere near any new machines then, and the burn is the same.

My bro-in-law and his friend, paramedics in Findlay, say it could have been a microwave pulse that might have been magnified by the unshielded passenger window of our 99 Tacoma, but it seems damn odd that I would be in just the right place to catch something like that 2 times in one year. I mean, wouldn't that be like 2 lightning strikes? (Yeah, I know that happens, just can't believe it happened to me).

Also, if that kind of thing were happening in the vicinity of Southwyck or Spring Meadows, wouldn't there be more people affected? Do you have to just happen to be driving by in an old car? People do that by the hundreds every day out there, you would think that someone would have said something by now. Maybe I'll call the Blade, Roberta would love this. ;p

posted by nana on Nov 19, 2007 at 10:56:01 pm     #  

it's probably a good idea that you seek a dermatologist... and get the whole ufo thing out of your head. good luck.

posted by jhostetler on Nov 20, 2007 at 01:19:20 am     #  

you could wait for the next sunny day (or limited cloud cover) and got outside for a bit to see if it happens again ... not always the best of solutions, but it could rule out a microwave pulse and radiation from laptops ... of course, it might not rule out the close encounter - they've been known to happen in daytime as well as night. LOL

posted by MaggieThurber on Nov 20, 2007 at 08:35:29 am     #  

I'm allergic to napalm, I guess. But that's what my doctor tells me.

posted by charlatan on Nov 20, 2007 at 02:53:05 pm     #  

Nana, You mentioned Toys R Us. Maybe it was all of the Lead in the toys.

posted by AmericanPie on Nov 21, 2007 at 09:24:08 am     #  

lolz on all you guys. Thanks for playing! In other news, my face has started peeling already and the redness is gone, so I guess I'm going to live. :D

posted by nana on Nov 21, 2007 at 10:58:37 am     #  

OK, I just figured this out this morning.

Not sure what I was doing or what I was taking in January, but Saturday the 17th and yesterday (yes, it happened again), I was standing/sitting under a fluorescent lamp at my workbench in my basement for hours, working on a computer on the 17th and playing Guitar Hero 3 yesterday.

--One bulb of this lamp is a Sun Lamp bulb from an old grow light.
--For the past 3 weeks, I have been taking ibuprofen off and on for an ear infection and inflammation in my eustachian tube.
--This past week, I tried Advil PM to help me sleep (only 2 works too good). The sleep agent in this is benedryl.

Today, I find out (good ole interwebs) that both ibuprofen and diphenhydramine make you more sensitive to UV radiation, especially if you have rosacea, which I do.

SO, I basically fried myself by taking these meds and working under a grow lamp. Problem sol-ved, as Mrs. Miller used to say. ;p Can't wait to tell my doctor!

posted by nana on Nov 24, 2007 at 01:59:27 pm     #  

Glad to know you figured it out, Nana...and that it's nothing serious. But I was hoping for some good sci-fi stories. :)

posted by MaggieThurber on Nov 25, 2007 at 08:56:25 am     #  

me too, maggie, me too.

I also figured out what I had done in January to put me under that lamp. I was working on the 2006 photos for probably 2-3 hours, putting a couple hundred of them in albums.

It's my husband's fault for building me such a great workbench!!! :D

posted by nana on Nov 25, 2007 at 12:30:39 pm     #  

Oh my goodness! Nana, I'm glad that you figured out what was happening! I hope that your ear is feeling better, thanks for keeping us posted.

posted by MaumeeMom on Nov 25, 2007 at 09:33:32 pm     #