Polymorphous light eruption

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Polymorphous light eruption
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 L56.4
ICD-9 692.72
DiseasesDB 10327
MedlinePlus 001477
eMedicine derm/342

Polymorphous light eruption (PLE), or polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), is a skin condition caused by sunlight.


Two subtypes have been described:[1]

  • Juvenile spring eruption is a cutaneous condition that affected the helices of the ears, particularly in boys because their ears are relatively more exposed to sunlight.[1]
  • Benign summer light eruption is a cutaneous condition, and a name used in continental Europe, and particularly France, to describe a clinically short-lived, itchy, papular eruption particularly affecting young women after several hours of sunbathing at the beginning of summer or on sunny vacations.[1] After a person experiences this condition once, it will likely recur annually. Onset is generally in the teen years or 20s; the condition can then last the remainder of a person's life, with annual flare-ups after the first exposure to the sun each year.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Symptoms include skin irritations, which may be itchy or painful, and are sometimes confused with hives. These irritations appear upon or after exposure to sunlight,[2] and may last from 1 to 7 days.[citation needed] Secondary symptoms include fever, dizziness, exhaustion and disorientation.


The cause of PLE is not yet understood. It is thought to be due to a type IV delayed-type hypersensitivity to an allergen produced in the body following sunlight exposure.[3] It can be provoked by UVA or UVB rays.[citation needed] Some progression to autoimmune disease has been observed.[4]


Generally, PLE resolves without treatment; also, PLE irritations generally leave no scar.[citation needed]


The cases of this condition are most common between the spring and autumn months in the northern hemisphere.[citation needed]

Typically, 5-20% of fair skinned populations are affected, but it can occur in any skin type.[3] It is more common in females than in males. The condition can affect all ethnic groups and research suggests that 20% of patients have a family history of the complaint.[citation needed] Those suffering from PLE usually do so by age 30.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0. 
  2. ^ Schornagel IJ, Sigurdsson V, Nijhuis EH, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA, Knol EF (July 2004). "Decreased neutrophil skin infiltration after UVB exposure in patients with polymorphous light eruption". J. Invest. Dermatol. 123 (1): 202–6. doi:10.1111/j.0022-202X.2004.22734.x. PMID 15191561. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.clinuvel.com/skin-conditions/common-skin-conditions/polymorphous-light-eruption-ple
  4. ^ Hasan T, Ranki A, Jansen CT, Karvonen J (September 1998). "Disease associations in polymorphous light eruption. A long-term follow-up study of 94 patients". Arch Dermatol 134 (9): 1081–5. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.9.1081. PMID 9762018. 

External links[edit]