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Polymorphic light eruption

Definition

Polymorphic light eruption is a common reaction to sunlight (ultraviolet light) that occurs in light-sensitive individuals.

Alternative Names

Polymorphous light eruption

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause is unknown. Some experts think it is a type of delayed allergic reaction.

Symptoms

Small red pimples and blisters appear on the skin within 1 - 4 days after exposure to sunlight. The lesions may also appear as scaly skin.

Treatment

Use sunscreen. Sun protection with broad spectrum sunblock that works against UVA rays is important.

Certain immunosuppressive pills may be used for more severe cases. Some people benefit from phototherapy in which the skin gets sensitized to the sun.


Review Date: 4/10/2009
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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