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Includes Expert Content
Red streaks on legs following sun burn
cfree080 posted:
I recently travelled down south for 4 days, but hardly spent any time in the sun. On the last morning, I spent about 40 minutes on the beach and in the water. Since it was 10am and I knew I would not be long, I skipped the sun screen. Bad idea, I know.

The next day when I was back home I noticed I had a sunburn on my thighs. Nothing terrible, just pink, was not painful to touch. I also had what looked like three streaks on my left thigh, but I figured I had just scratched my leg and not realized.

It is now 6 days later and my legs have lightened up almost to their regular colour, with the exception of the three "scratches." These areas remain as painless, non-elevated, not itchy, streaks. I have also acquired one more streak on my shin a couple days ago.

Is there anyone who can provide me feedback on my condition? They have not gotten worse or spread, and as I mentioned, have no sensation (other than what would feel like a minor sunburn if I scratch them). Are these just localized sunburns? My doctor had no feedback other than to come back if it got worse, which is has not. Should I be concerned?

Bmklein responded:
What ever happened to the streaks? I have the same thing. Both my knees got sunburned really bad, they were still hot to the touch and inflamed 4 days after my burn, that's when I noticed the streaks. I thought it was a scratch too, but after a week with out any change, I went to the ER. They really don't know what happened. They gave me anitbiotics for cellulitus and lymphangitus, but it's been 2 weeks and the streaks still haven't gone away. The severe burn on my knee is improving, but the streaks remain unchanged. I was just wondering if your streaks have gone away and if you ever found out what it was.
Mary Ruth Buchness, MD responded:
Were you drinking any drinks with lime in them while you were on the beach? Lime sensitizes the skin to sunlight and causes a persistant redness which eventually becomes brown on the skin. If the juice drips on you while you're in the sun, you get a streak. Another possibility is jelly fish stings, which are usually painful, but do cause red streaks on the affected areas. If neither of these are possible, can you think of anything else that could have dripped down your leg? Let us know.

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