American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 169–180 | Cite as

Immunologically Mediated Photodermatoses

Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Thilo GambichlerEmail author
  • Raida Al-Muhammadi
  • Stefanie Boms
Review Article Immunologically Mediated Photodermatoses


Electromagnetic radiation may cause distinct skin conditions. The immunologically mediated photodermatoses (IMP, previous term: idiopathic photodermatoses) represent a heterogenous group of disorders presenting with pathologic skin reactions caused by optical radiation, particularly in the UVA wavelength region. The exact pathomechanism in IMP remains to be elucidated; however, it is very likely (auto)-immunologic in nature. Polymorphic light eruption, actinic prurigo, hydroa vacciniforme, chronic actinic dermatitis, and solar urticaria are the most important conditions that may be summarized under the term IMP. IMP frequently result in a significant reduction in quality of life in affected individuals, mainly because of troublesome symptoms such as intractable itch and pain.

Photodiagnostic procedures are mandatory for the exact determination of action spectra and the degree of photosensitivity. Broad-spectrum photoprotection is essential in the prevention of IMP. Photo(chemo)therapeutic regimens are predominantly used to increase the cutaneous immunologic tolerance against ambient UV radiation. In severe forms of IMP, immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive therapies may need to be considered. Overall, IMP form a significant group of skin conditions that can be extremely disabling to the patient and are difficult to diagnose and treat.


Atopic Dermatitis Minimal Erythematous Dose Oxybenzone Polymorphic Light Eruption Photopatch Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thilo Gambichler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raida Al-Muhammadi
    • 1
  • Stefanie Boms
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyKatharinen HospitalUnnaGermany

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