Cutaneous Photosensitivity Diseases

Sally Ibbotson, Robert Dawe


The photodermatoses are a diverse group of diseases, some of which, such as polymorphic light eruption, are very common and others, such as hydroa vacciniforme or xeroderma pigmentosum, are rare. It is essential not to miss the diagnosis of these conditions and referral to a specialist photodiagnostic centre is advised for many patients. Management depends on the diagnosis but includes prevention and disease suppression. Photoprotection is a mainstay approach for the photodermatoses but is often not sufficient for disease control. Desensitization using photo(chemo)therapy regimens may be feasible and systemic therapies are sometimes needed. Photosensitivity, particularly if chronic and severe, can be associated with significant psychological morbidity, which must be considered. Awareness of the possibility of vitamin D deficiency is also required.
Keywords desensitization, drug, immunological, ultraviolet radiation, photodermatosis, photopatch testing, photoprotection, photosensitivity, phototesting, polymorphic light eruption, sunscreen


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