Home » Polymorphic solar dermatitis: what it is, symptoms, treatments and remedies

Polymorphic solar dermatitis: what it is, symptoms, treatments and remedies

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Polymorphic solar dermatitis: what it is, symptoms, treatments and remedies

Polymorphic solar dermatitis is a disease that manifests itself with exposure to the sun: if you are particularly sensitive, there may be serious lesions

If the warm season is appreciated by many for the pleasant temperatures and the possibility of enjoying more hours of light, for some sunny days can represent a serious threat. This is the case for those who suffer from solar polymorphous dermatitiswhich consists of ahypersensitivity to ultraviolet and infrared rays which can cause more or less serious problems.

in solar polymorphous dermatitis

The sun can damage the skin through two types of rays: The ultraviolet and infrared. The first are physical rays which they penetrate the skin as if they were pins: they are able to alter the cell membrane and enter the nucleus, arriving to destroy them. This determines an inflammatory reaction, essential to start the processes necessary to repair the damage. Instead, infrared I am thermo-energetic rays able to not only to cross the skin barrier, but even to pass through physical obstacles, such as for example walls, sheet metal and fabrics. They cause damage because their energy is transformed into heat, which in turn causes blood vessels to dilate, triggering an inflammatory process. “Both ultraviolet and infrared are ultimately causes of considerable inflammation that characterizes polymorphic solar dermatitis”, underlines the Professor Antonino Di Pietrodirector of the Vita Cutis Dermoclinic Institute at the Palazzo della Salute Wellness Clinic in Milan.


Polymorphic solar dermatitis is therefore the cause of a serious inflammation, which manifests itself with different symptoms in areas exposed to the sun. In addition to tingling and al burning of the skin, appear erythema ed edema. The first consists of reddening of the skin, which temporarily returns to its normal color if you press your finger on it. Edema is instead a swelling resulting from the leakage of serum from the capillaries due to the action of infrared and which leads to swelling of the tissues. In the most serious cases, they may appear on the skin following prolonged exposure to the sun bubbles and vesicles. “The more sensitive you are to sunlight, the faster these symptoms appear, which are also more marked,” observes Professor Di Pietro. After an episode of polymorphic solar dermatitis, the skin remains fragile for a long time and is therefore at greater risk of “relapses”. Indeed they are needed 2 to 3 months for this organ to recover completely. The inflammatory reaction can be accentuated by the use of some drugs, which make the skin even more sensitive to light; among the most used are the antibiotics they antiepileptics: this is the reason why those who take them are advised against exposure to the sun. “There solar polymorphic dermatitis it can also occur in areas of the body protected by physical barriers, such as clothing or the bodywork of the car. Infrared rays are in fact able to go beyond them and can cause an inflammatory reaction even when you are in the shade, if the temperature is high”, warns the expert.

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how to cure

To keep polymorphic solar dermatitis under control, it is necessary to slow down or stop the inflammatory process. To do this, starch helps, fromsoothing effect and which counteracts both erythema and edema. This natural substance is used to prepare wraps with lukewarm water, to be applied on the skin to refresh it and reduce the flame. “A very useful home remedy is the so-called ‘awkward’: it consists in soaking the bread in water at room temperature and then wrapping it in a cloth, to keep it resting on the skin. The water that thus touches the skin is rich in the starch contained in this food”, explains Professor Di Pietro. However, in the presence of bubbles and vesicles, starch-based treatments are not sufficient and it is also necessary to resort to cortisone-based anti-inflammatory creams. Since breaking these skin lesions exposes you to the risk of infection, they should also be used antibiotic creams. In the 10-15 days following polymorphic solar dermatitis, direct exposure to the sun should be avoided, remaining instead in the shade and in cool and ventilated environments. Finally, to prevent problems you shouldn’t use sunscreens with chemical filters, because they often make them even more sensitive to light.

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