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Photodermatitis

more about Photodermatitis


Sun poisoning, Sun Burn, Sun Allergy


  • This is a condition that develops in areas of the body exposed to ultra-violet (UV) rays of the sun.

  • Occur after sun exposure
  • May be in the area where chemical or topical cream applied
  • Mild form is like sunburn -- red, Itchy, hot, in patches with Scaly Skin.
  • Severe form -- vesicles or fragile bullae (fluid-filled, bubble-like under the skin)
  • If these occur often, the skin may become thick and dark in color.

  • Phototoxic -- direct effect of the UV rays (e.g., sunburn) or taking chemicals or substances that make the skin more sensitive to UV light.
  • Photoallergic -- effects seen when individual exposed to sun is also taking certain chemicals or medications that make their skin allergic to sunlight.
  • Polymorphous light eruptions or PLE -- this is a skin condition in which exposure to sunlight results in a red rash, Hives (flat or raised red areas with irregular borders), and vesicles (small fluid filled bumps).

  • History:
    1. Symptoms
    2. Sun exposure
    3. Illnesses
    4. Medications
    5. Topical creams
    6. Jobs
    7. Habits -- gardening, etc.
    8. Family
  • Examination of the skin:

- Doctor may consult with a Dermatologist.

  • Tests may include:
    1. Photo -- testing by exposing the patient to UV light
    2. Photo patch testing -- done by applying the suspected agents or chemicals to patient's back for 48 hrs.  The patch is taken off and skin reaction is followed for one week.
    3. Skin biopsy -- if diseases are suspected, a piece of skin tissue is sent to a pathologist who can identify the underlying problem.

    1. Birth control pills
    2. Phenothiazines
    3. Tetracycline
    4. Sulfonamides
    5. Diuretics
    6. Thalidomide
  • Harvesters of celery and citrus fruits and figs
  • Plants or topical cream containing Psoralens
  • Coal tar lotions
  • Perfumes -- especially with lemon oils
  • Soaps (salicylic annelids) and aftershave lotions
  • Sunscreens with p-aminobenzoic acids (PABA)

  • Avoid sunlight
  • Avoid medications or topical creams that cause the problems.  Wear hats, long sleeves, and use sunscreen (against UVA and UVB) when in sunlight.
  • Use zinc oxide as sunscreen
  • Sunscreen at least with SPF > 15
  • For Sunburn:
    1. Cold water or ice compresses (towel) as needed
    2. Aloe vera lotions have soothing effects
    3. Tylenol or aspirin for pain
    4. Corticosteroid creams (Betamethasone 0.1%) can ease the pain, redness, and itching.
    5. Prednisone pills can be given for severe reactions

  • Talk with your physician for further therapy and testing.

  • Allergies:

    1. Foods
    2. Drugs
    3. Fabrics
    4. Contact with particular agent

  • Burns from other causes (i.e., hot water, etc.)
  • SLE




more about Photodermatitis


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