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Polymorphic Light Eruptions (PMLE) - Causes and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Mar 16, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2019   -  1 min read



Polymorphous light eruptions (PMLE) are skin rashes seen in people who are sensitive to sunlight and artificial UV light. To know more, read the article.

Polymorphic Light Eruptions (PMLE) - Causes and Treatment

PMLE is idiopathic, sunlight, or artificial light-induced cutaneous eruptions, ranging from papulovesicular lesions to large plaques, mainly localized to the photo-exposed areas of our body. It occurs, particularly at temperate latitudes. Cutaneous eruptions occur intermittent and follow specific sun exposure or artificial ultraviolet radiation, that usually extends from minutes to hours or rarely days. The eruptions may last for days to a week after the exposure ceases.

It affects individuals of all races. PMLE affects women twice frequently than men of all ages, the prevalence in the general population is inversely related to the latitude, it is most common in temperate regions. It is due to the hardening phenomenon, experienced by patient residing in hot climates. The risk of developing PMLE is highest with Fitzpatrick's skin type 1 (fair skin), and lowest prevalence is seen in people with skin type 4 and above (darker complexion).

Clinical Features

In PMLE, pruritus almost always occurs within minutes, and then chronic recurrent eruptions are seen on the photo-exposed sites, though some light-exposed parts may be spared. Lesions more commonly occur in early summer, and gradually improve as the season progresses, due to the hardening effects. Sun exposure for few minutes to several hours is required to initiate the development of lesions, but the lesions become visible only several hours after sun exposure.

Typically, affected sites include the bridge of the nose, malar areas of the cheeks, the tip of the chin, side and back of the neck, upper chest, dorsum of hands, dorsolateral aspects of the arms, front and back of the legs and dorsum of the feet. Lesional distribution and morphology vary with patients.



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Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2019  -  1 min read


Dr. Suvash Sahu

Dr. Suvash Sahu


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