Onset occurs during adolescence and young adulthood.
Mainly affects women.
Typically, manifests after intensive UV exposure; clinical symptoms last several days; remission occurs without complication.
Papules/papulovesicles and plaques on exposed sites are characteristic.
Topical corticosteroid creams or lotions are the mainstay of therapy, with the addition of oral corticosteroids/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in severe disease.
Prophylaxis is an important part of management with avoidance of sun exposure, physical UV protection, and light hardening.
Polymorphous light eruption (PLE) is a benign skin disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people after intensive UV exposure. Clinical signs include severe itching and small papules, plaques, and papulovesicles on predilection sites, such as the V-neck area, dorsal aspects of the arms and hands, legs, and less commonly on the face. Aetiology remains elusive; however, UV-A-induced oxidative stress appears to play a key role.
History and exam
Clinical Research Fellow
Department of dermatology
Barts Health NHS Trust
SH declares that she has no competing interests.
Charing Cross/Hammersmith Hospital
Imperial College Hospitals NHS Trust
SZ declares that she has no competing interests.
Honorary Senior Lecturer/Consultant
St Mary’s Hospital
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
CH declares that she has no competing interests.
Dr Sarah Hogan, Dr Shirin Zaheri, and Dr Catherine Hardman would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Ina Marion Hadshiew, a previous contributor to this monograph. IMH declares that she has no competing interests.
Professor and Chair
Department of Dermatology
EH declares that he has no competing interests.
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