Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What does sun poisoning look like?"
I have white spots on my neck on top of a sunburn. Is this sun poisoning? What does it look like?
Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that arises from an overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. Sun poisoning looks pretty much like sunburn but more severe that is accompanied by its symptoms such as fever, nausea, chills, dizziness, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, dehydration, shock, and severe blisters or soreness. There are two different types of sun poisoning. The first type of sun poisoning has physical appearance that closely resemble to a sunburn and then a redness and a rash-likeness to follow. The second type has bumps that are similar in appearance to hives. Sun poisoning can also look like eczema having dry, scaly patches or appear as dark patches on the skin. That said, your main concern is the appearance of the white spots on your skin. Without examining your skin it is impossible to arrive a correct diagnosis. However, one possible cause that has come to my mind is that those white spots are actually tinea versicolor - the overproduction of yeast on your skin that becomes visible on a sunburn or when the skin tans. Blocked hair follicles may also cause white spots when tanning. Another possibility is that skin that has experienced a major sunburn can also lose pigment and appear as white spots. There are other possible causes, as well. I would recommend a consultation with a dermatologist to establish a diagnosis.