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Skin Disease of the Week: Polymorphic Light Eruption

Polymorphic Light Eruption New Braunfels, TX

Polymorphic light eruption, or PMLE, is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages and skin types. It occurs when the skin reacts to exposure to sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as tanning beds. PMLE is also sometimes referred to as sun allergy or sun rash.

Symptoms of PMLE typically appear within a few hours to a few days after exposure to UV radiation. These can include redness, itching, and small raised bumps or blisters on the skin. In some cases, the skin may also become swollen and tender to the touch.

PMLE is a type of photodermatitis, which is a general term for any skin reaction that occurs as a result of exposure to UV radiation. There are several different types of photodermatitis, including drug-induced photodermatitis and chronic actinic dermatitis, but PMLE is the most common.

The exact cause of PMLE is not well understood, but it is thought to be related to an abnormal immune response to UV radiation. Some people may be more prone to PMLE due to genetic factors, while others may develop the condition after prolonged periods of sun exposure or exposure to intense UV radiation.

Treatment for PMLE typically involves avoiding exposure to UV radiation and taking steps to protect the skin from the sun. This can include wearing protective clothing, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, and avoiding sun exposure during peak hours when the UV index is highest.

In some cases, over-the-counter or prescription medications may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and itching associated with PMLE. These can include corticosteroid creams, antihistamines, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

While PMLE can be uncomfortable and unsightly, it is generally not a serious condition and does not increase the risk of skin cancer. However, it is important to take steps to protect the skin from UV radiation to prevent further damage and reduce the risk of other types of skin cancer.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PMLE or other types of photodermatitis, it is important to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your dermatologist can help you develop a customized treatment plan that takes into account your individual skin type, lifestyle, and other factors.