Photosensitivity Diseases

Exposure to sun may cause various medical problems due to photosensitivity and/or photoallergy. The diseases which can occur and affect patients’ health due to exposure to sun can be classified as genetic, metabolic, phototoxic, photoallergic, photoaggravated, idiopathic, neoplastic and degenerative.

The diseases which are due to photosensitivity are listed below:

  1. Genetic: Albinism, Bloom syndrome, Cockayne’s disease, Erythropoietic porphyria, Erythropoietic protoporphyria, Familial Porphyria cutanea tarda, Hepatoerythropoietic porphyria, Variegate porphyria, Kindler syndrome, Phenylketonuria, Rothmund-Thompson disease, Xeroderma pigmentosum.
  2. Metabolic: Carcinoid syndrome, Hartnup disease, Kwashiorkor, Pellagra (commonly caused by deficiency of niacin, a B complex vitamin), Sporadic Porphyria cutanea tarda.
  3. Phototoxic: Internal diseases due to certain drugs. External disease due to certain drugs, plants and foods.
  4. Photoallergic: Immediate (solar urticaria) and delayed (Drug photoallergy, persistent light reaction/chronic actinic dermatitis).
  5. Photoaggravated: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid Lupus erythematosus, Subacute cutaneous Lupus erythematosus, Dermatomyositis, Herpes simplex, Acne vulgaris (aestivale), Lichen planus actinicus.
  6. Idiopathic: The exact mechanism is not known. Examples are Actinic prurigo, Hydroa aestivale, Polymorphous light eruption.
  7. Neoplastic and degenerative: These are mainly cancerous skin conditions. Actinic keratosis, photoaging, Melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

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