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

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



Symptoms include skin irritations, which may be itchy or painful, and are sometimes confused with hives. These irritations appear upon exposure to sunlight—sometimes only hours after exposure[1]—and may last from 1 to 7 days.


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

Typically, 10-20% of the population are affected. 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. Those suffering from PLE usually do so by age 30.

Causes and prevention

It has been noted that PMLE is caused by an immune reaction to a compound in the skin which is altered by exposure to ultraviolet light. It can be provoked by UVA or UVB rays.

The cause of PLE is not yet understood. It is thought to be due to a type IV delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction.

One may also purchase clothing that has been tested for its protective qualities.

In addition, taking Calcium-Sandoz (with Vitamin C) for 10 days before exposure to the sun can be helpful in preventing the irritation.

Some progression to autoimmune disease has been observed.[2]


Generally, PLE resolves without treatment; also, PLE irritations generally leave no scar.

Experimental treatments

As of 2008 a company in Australia named Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Limited is performing clinical trials with a melanocyte-stimulating hormone named afamelanotide (formerly CUV1647)[3] for polymorphous light eruption.[4]

See also


  1. ^ 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.  
  2. ^ 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.  
  3. ^ "World Health Organisation assigns CUV1647 generic name" (PDF). Clinuvel. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  
  4. ^ Clinuvel » Investors » FAQs

External links



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