Polymorphous light eruption (PLE) is a rash caused by photosensitivity. This is a relatively common and harmless skin condition which peaks during spring and summer, and clears on its own without leaving scars.
|Polymorphous light eruption (PLE) is neither hereditary, nor does it have any connection with skin cancer.|
Polymorphous light eruption (PLE) is an itchy skin condition caused by exposure to sunlight and the UV rays present in it. The skin, having become sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity), develops reddish-pink rashes that can appear as raised patched of skin or as tiny bumps. The rash is polymorphic in nature because it varies from one person to the other, and sometimes may vary in the way it appears on the affected parts of the body.
This condition is more prevalent during spring and summer, as the exposure to sunlight increases substantially during these seasons. These skin rashes or eruptions peak with the increase in heat and sunlight, after which the condition subsides as the weather gets cooler. Polymorphous light eruption is not a serious skin condition and clears up on its own. This skin condition is not infectious and cannot be passed on to someone.
Only when the itching is too much to bear or if the rashes keep reappearing, is the condition treated with medication. The rashes may develop over a few minutes or hours after being exposed to sunlight. However, in some, the eruption may appear days after having been exposed to sunlight. Find out everything you need to know about polymorphous light eruption from this HealthHearty article.
❖ There seems to be no exact cause for polymorphous light eruption. However, it is believed that it is the body’s way of displaying increased sensitivity to ultraviolet rays.
❖ Apart from being present in sunlight, UV rays are also dispelled from tanning beds and lamps. Therefore, people who have not been exposed to sunlight for long periods but have recently used such tanning equipments, may also develop PLE.
❖ The rash appears on the parts of the body that are usually covered during winter and include the neck, chest, and arms.
❖ Since these areas have been protected from sunlight for quite a while, the skin in these areas tends to become more sensitive to sunlight.
❖ One of the symptoms to look out for is reddish skin, which is itching or burning and has raised patches of spots or blisters.
❖ These raised bumps tend to aggravate and worsen with more exposure to sunlight and thus need to be covered and protected until the eruption subsides.
❖ The best way to find out if it is actually polymorphous light eruption and not some other condition, is to show the rash to a dermatologist.
❖ This skin condition often affects people within the age group of 20 – 40, and is more likely to affect women and people with fairer skin.
❖ The appearance of the rash, the duration of the eruption, along with studying the health history of the patient, will help in assessing the skin condition.
❖ The doctor will also want to know whether the rash itches or pains, and if any prescription or over-the-counter medicines have been taken in the last few days.
❖ A skin biopsy and blood test may also be done in order to rule out other skin disorders and underlying health conditions.
❖ Phototesting is also carried out in some cases, wherein a patch of skin is exposed to UV rays to check if the skin shows any similar adverse reaction.
❖ As mentioned earlier, PLE clears on its own. However, skin creams containing hydrocortisone and oral antihistamine are often prescribed to help reduce the itching or burning.
❖ Pain relieving medication may also be prescribed in order to reduce the discomfort, redness, pain, and itching.
❖ Applying cold compress and avoiding further exposure to sunlight will help the rashes from clearing out faster.
❖ Covering yourself up so as to prevent any further sun exposure is the quickest and easiest way to prevent any further skin flare ups. Always remember to apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and wear a hat to protect your scalp, face, and neck.
❖ Refraining from any exposure to sunlight may require the individual to have their serum vitamin D measured from time to time, in order to prevent any deficiency.
A common trait of this condition is that it tends to reoccur every year during spring or summer season. For those who have been dealing with more than a few bouts a year or have severe problems, undergoing ultraviolet light therapy will be the right option. This therapy allows the skin to develop more resistance against UV rays and become less sensitive to sun exposure.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.