Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Polymorphous light eruption treatment usually isn't necessary because the rash typically resolves on its own within a few days to a week or more.
- Anti-itch cream. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as a cream containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone. If you're experiencing severe itch or pain, your doctor may prescribe a more potent corticosteroid cream.
- Pain relievers. An over-the-counter pain medication may help reduce redness, itchiness or pain. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others).
Your doctor may suggest light therapy (phototherapy) to prevent seasonal episodes of polymorphous light eruption. Phototherapy exposes your skin to small doses of UVA or UVB light that helps your skin be less sensitive to light — essentially a controlled version of the increased exposure you would experience over the course of the summer.
One type of light therapy called psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) combines UVA with administration of a medicine called psoralen, which makes the skin more sensitive to this light. Short-term side effects of this therapy may include nausea, headache and itching. Also, you must wear special UVA-absorbing sunglasses for a couple of days to protect your eyes.
- Habif T. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00028-6--s0355&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00028-6--s0355&uniqId=227127777-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00028-6--s0355. Accessed Nov. 18, 2010.
- Honigsmann H. Polymorphous light eruption. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine 2008;24:155.
- Facts about sunscreens. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_sunscreen.htm. Accessed Nov. 18, 2010.
- Bylaite M, et al. Photodermatoses: Classification, evaluation and management. The British Journal of Dermatology 2009;161(suppl 3):61.
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- Photosensitivity. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec10/ch115/ch115c.html. Accessed Nov. 19, 2010.
- Sun-protective clothing: Wear it well. Federal Trade Commission. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt094.shtm. Accessed Nov. 18, 2010.