What is photosensitivity?

Sunlight can have a wide variety of effects on the skin. There are a number of diseases that it can make worse, such as lupus erythematosus (where the body's immune system attacks it's own organs and tissues). It can also have effects on how the body handles drugs, or metabolism. There are also instances where sunlight can cause skin problems (such as a rash) without any previous problems that might be contributing to it or being exacerbated. All of these above conditions are known as the photosensitive dermatoses (a skin reaction following exposure to sunlight). There are four main groups:

  • Photosensitive dermatoses caused by drugs
  • Metabolic and genetic photosensitive dermatoses
  • Photoaggravated dermatoses (which are exacerbations of existing conditions)
  • Acquried idiopathic dermatoses (which do not fit into the other categories)

In most cases, the rash caused by sunlight can be managed by protecting the skin from UV light. This can simply be wearing sunscreens or additional clothes in some cases, or for severe diseases, it might extend to having to remain indoors with special indoor lights and window screens to totally minimise any UV exposure.

Photosensitivity Guide Index:

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