First off, thank you to the 1000's of people from all over the WORLD who have stopped by in the last few years and left amazingly helpful comments for other PMLE sufferers! I LOVE that we are all so supportive and helpful to each other! So, thank you again for all the helpful comments and dialogue from all our readers!
My next goal is to separate my PMLE posts from my 'mommy', fashion, and other posts so I can continue to operate both - more on that when I figure out what exactly I'm going to do!
Many comments have asked for specific dosages and other details regarding the treatment options I've discussed in previous posts. For myself, I use (and will discuss in further detail) the following items:
**NEW PRODUCT!! SHIRUDO ANTIOXIDANT LOTION! (click to see post/review)
* Heliocare/ Solaricare Pills
* Claritin/allergy meds
* Beta Carotene (and any anti-oxidants both topical and orally in general) / lycopene
* Vitamin E oil (topical) / Bio-Oil
* Parasol (avobenzone) - found in sunscreens... Banana Boat specifically
** Alphaglucosylrutin (AGR) ** if anyone knows of ANY product containing this, or anything about this elusive ingredient, PLEASE let us know! It was in the Eucerin Daily Sun Defense Lotion, which is no longer available in the US and nearly impossible to find internationally!) I did find a website to order it through .... see below
**Wide-Brimmed Sun Hat / Covering up!
For reference, I spent the entire month of June in south Florida. Clearly, this was a great way to challenge the above mentioned items. After I discuss them, I will review my results!
I finally caved and purchased my Heliocare pills ('sun pill') on Amazon a few weeks ago. As per the label (and other readers' experiences) I started taking one per day about a month before my vacation to the beach, and bumped it up to two-per-day the week before and during the entire time we are at the beach. This ended up costing me about $100... was it worth it?! I'm not going to say either way. The ingredients in the pill are generally positive, so I don't think there was a bad side for me. I should note that I replaced my typical beta-carotene pill and my lycopene pill with the Heliocare pill.
I ALWAYS take a Zyrtec at night before bed because I suffer year-around indoor and outdoor allergies. I buy a bottle of 300+ from Costco in their own off-brand for about $15 ... well worth it on so many levels for myself. I would also imagine Benedryl would be helpful for any itching or swelling that occurs.
Beta Carotene / Lycopene / Anti-oxidant pills are bascially in the same scope as the Heliocare pills. However, I have more experience with taking the beta carotene (BC) and lycopene pills from the previous few years. I always take the highest concentration I can find in the morning before hitting the beach. This year, as I mentioned, I did NOT take these pills in conjunction with the sun pill.
***BIG NEWS HERE*** I found a place to order Eucerin Sun Defense lotion WITH the AGR that is proven to lessen and even prevent our symptoms!!! The insert with the lotion even discusses and illustrates HOW this lotion prevents the rash by blocking free radicals .... so cool!
www.paulsmarteurope.com has the Eucerin in SPF 25. It ships from Germany and must go through customs, so it took about a week and a half to receive. I was totally fine with that! The product was fresh, unopened, and just as described! For around $36 including shipping, I could NOT be happier! Weeee!
***MORE BIG NEWS HERE + 1*** I STILL broke out in my rash after three weeks in Florida. The funny thing is, it was on a cloudy day when I got lazy! It was the one day I didn't put any sunscreen at all on my stomach as I had started the day in a tee shirt, but then undressed down to just the bikini. I used a lot of the Eucerin to sooth and help prevent more rash from appearing and it worked quite well!
So, in conclusion, I still think that, besides building a tolerance to the sun each spring (which I've tried to do in both my backyard and a tanning bed) or simply covering yourself from the sun totally, the best prevention is topical - AGR and Avobenzone specifically! Not that the pills and other things don't work, but my personal experience is that if I can keep either one of those two substances on my skin while being exposed to the sun AND avoid becoming sun BURNED, I do not develop the rash.
The stronger the sun, earlier in the summer, and the more days in a row I am exposed to sun, the more likely I am to have an outbreak. AKA.... A Spring Break vacation to southern Florida almost always results in a rash faster than a weekend trip to Lake Michigan in August no matter what precautions I take!
Some have asked about birth control pills and I plan on looking more into this topic and the relation to PMLE. I know that my symptoms began about the time I went on the pill and have continued since. I also DID still have an outbreak when pregnant, but again, there are a lot of the same hormones floating around during pregnancy.... I may be willing to try going off the pill next summer to see if there is any positive effect. That seems like such an easy fix - maybe the pill only worsens the condition? It certainly is not the only culprit as there are men and children who also suffer .... but maybe there is a specific ingredient that aggravates the condition? I will look more into this.
Lastly, I have seen studies that suggest as we age the PMLE symptoms ease ... let's hope!
THANK YOU for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from those of you who are experimenting with these solutions this summer!