Polymorphous Light Eruption: Causes, Symptoms & Home Remedies

 Polymorphic light eruption (PLE) is one of the most common skin complaints especially among women living in temperate climate. This condition is caused due to exposure to sunlight. PLE is characterized by raised tiny red itchy and burning rash on the exposed part of the body mainly the chest, face and hands. This photodermatosis commonly occurs during spring and early summer time.

Polymorphic light eruption is immunologically mediated skin rash caused due to ultraviolet ray of the sun.

PLE occurs among people who are photosensitive. Normally the rash clears of its own within 10 days without leaving any scars behind. However, people having severe form or persistent rash for long duration may need medical treatment.

Causes Of Polymorphic Light Eruption

Polymorphic light eruption is an untoward immunological response of the body to sunlight, although the exact pathophysiology underlying it remains unclear. It occurs mostly in people who are photosensitive. The condition can trigger even after few minutes of exposure to UV rays of sun.  Long as well as short wavelength of ultraviolet rays can cause PLE.

It can also develop after exposure to tanning beds and tanning lamps. Most people suffer from this problem in spring and early summer time when the climate is sunny. It is more common in temperate climate. The rash is seen on the exposed areas of the body such as the hands, and front of the chest.

Although anyone can develop polymorphic light eruption, some factors increase the risk such as being female, people experiencing the episode at an early age. People with light complexion are also at greater risk of developing polymorphic light eruption. The disease is seen more commonly in countries that are not very sunny as in case of countries of northern hemisphere. Polymorphic light eruption is not hereditary or infectious disease but at least 10 to 15 % people who suffer from PLE are known to have someone in their family with the same problem.

Symptoms Of Polymorphic Light Eruption

Polymorphic light eruption can be a sporadic incidence in a person or may recur every time the skin is exposed to UV rays of sunlight. Most often the condition is seen during spring or in early summer, especially in northern countries where sunlight is mild. The condition is triggered by exposure to sun. Symptoms mainly red rash develop within 30 minutes or a day after exposure.

The rash will heal if the person further avoids exposure to sunlight within 10 days. However, if the afflicted area remains exposed to sunlight persistently for many more days the rash tends to increase in severity. The rash typically affects the back of hands, V of neck and front side of chest, and lower legs. Usually the face is spared.

The characteristic feature of rash is large number of small red or pink eruptions. These red raised patches may coalesce to form a cluster of lesion or blister. Itching and burning in this area is common. There is no scarring after the rash has healed. The condition usually gets relieved after 7 to 10 days but may persist for a longer period if the skin remains exposed o sunlight.

Natural Remedies For Polymorphous Light Eruption

Polymorphic light eruption is a self healing condition if further exposure to sunlight is avoided. However, in case of severe eruptions treatment may become necessary. Some of the home measures include:

  • Cold compresses: Place a cloth dipped in cool water over the affected area at least two to three times in a day.
  • Oral anti histamine medicine will help to relieve itching and burning sensation.
  • Avoid further exposure to sunlight.
  • Apply anti itch cream over the affected area.
  • Apply aloe vera gel on the rash. It will help to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Place cucumber slice over the area. Cucumber is natural cooling agent. You can also apply cucumber juice.
  • Severe and intense rash may need oral corticosteroid therapy.