Last reviewed: 3 Jul 2021
Last updated: 25 May 2021

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • sun exposure
  • lack of sun protection
  • skin discomfort
  • pruritus
  • skin tenderness
  • sensation of warmth
  • erythema

Other diagnostic factors

  • chronic actinic damage
  • malaise, fever, chills, nausea, headache
  • oedema
  • vesicles/bullae

Risk factors

  • Fitzpatrick skin type I-III
  • photo-sensitising medications
  • intentional tanning
  • lack of or improper use of sunscreen
  • injudicious sun exposure
  • age under 6 months
  • immunosuppression
  • history of skin cancer

Diagnostic investigations

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Authors

Elena B. Hawryluk, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Dermatology

Harvard Medical School

Boston

MA

Disclosures

EBH is an author and reviewer for UpToDate and a consultant for Purity Brands LLC. EBH declares that her spouse receives salary and stock from Gritstone Oncology LLC.

Acknowledgements

Dr Elena B. Hawryluk would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Aimee S. Payne and Dr Ronald M. Bernardin, previous co-contributors to this topic. ASP and RMB declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Chad M. Hivnor, Major, USAF, MC, FS

Chief

Outpatient & Pediatric Dermatology

59th Medical Wing/ SGOMD

Lackland Air Force Base

San Antonio

TX

Disclosures

CMH declares that he has no competing interests.

Stephen Richardson, MD, FAAD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Florida State University College of Medicine

Tallahassee

FL

Disclosures

SR declares that he has no competing interests.

Ravi Ubriani, MD, FAAD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology

Columbia University

New York

NY

Disclosures

RU declares that he has no competing interests.

Peter M. Farr, MD, FRCP

Consultant Dermatologist and Professor of Clinical Photobiology

Royal Victoria Infirmary

Newcastle upon Tyne

UK

Disclosures

PMF declares that he has no competing interests.

Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer