What is polymorphic light eruption?
Polymorphic is a common photosensitive dermatosis. Approximately 10 – 20 % of the population will get polymorphic light eruption, and women are 6 times more likely to get it than men. It is also more common in people with lighter skin. It tends to first appear in late adolescence or early adulthood, particularly during spring or summer, after exposure to both UVA and UVB radiation. Polymorphic light eruption is covered in more detail in another article.
The lesions in polymorphic light eruption tend to be variable, as the term “polymorphic” suggests. The rash can start within hours of sunlight exposure and can take 5 – 10 days to clear. Most commonly, you will find papules (raised bumps on the skin), which are red in colour and a few millimetres across. Sometimes you can find larger lesions or blisters too. They most commonly appear on the arms, legs, and chest, but not on the face. They can be itchy, but they will resolve without scarring.
Mild cases can be treated by avoiding sunlight. This might involve wearing more clothing or broad-spectrum sunscreens or remaining indoors most of the time. More severe cases can be treated by desensitisation therapy – the skin is exposed to UV light, with or without drugs. This builds up the skin's natural protection. In even more severe cases, steroid creams or antihistamies may be needed. Lotions may be helpful in reducing the itchiness.
Photosensitivity Guide Index:
- What is photosensitivity?
- What are some photosensitive dermatoses caused by drugs or other chemicals?
- What are phototoxic reactions?
- What are photoallergic reactions?
- What is photocontact dermatitis?
- What are genetic and metabolic metabolic photosensitive dermatoses?
- What is pellagra?
- Who gets pellagra?
- What are some signs and symptoms of pellagra?
- What are porphyrias?
- What are acute porphyrias?
- What are cutaneous porphyrias?
- What is xeroderma pigmentosum?
- What is Bloom syndrome?
- What is Cockayne syndrome?
- What are photoaggravated dermatoses?
- What is atopic eczema?
- What is psoriasis?
- What is lichen planus?
- What is lupus erythematosus?
- What is dermatomyositis?
- What is actinic folliculitis?
- What is disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis?
- What are acquired idiopathic photosensitive dermatoses?
- What is polymorphic light eruption?
- What is chronic actinic dermatitis?
- What is solar urticaria?
- What is actinic prurigo?
- What is hydroa vacciniforme?
- What is juvenile spring eruption?
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