Polymorphous light eruption is an allergic reaction to sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light. It usually takes hours to days after exposure to direct sunlight for it to develop an irritated rash.

It’s the most common skin condition caused by sunlight. A study across Europe found that PMLE affects as much as 18 percent of the population there.

It is also called polymorphic light eruption.

Home remedies and medical interventions are used to treat PMLE.

You can learn more about how PMLE might affect you.

Symptoms of PMLE usually begin within a few hours to days after sunlight exposure, typically in the spring or early summer. An itchy rash will appear on areas that were newly exposed to the light, including:

  • The neckline is low.
  • The chest.
  • forearms
  • Your hands are back.
  • The legs are lower.
  • Feet.

“The face doesn’t usually get affected by the rash. Every time you get a rash, it will be the same rash.”

If you avoid UV light, your rash will heal on its own in a few days to weeks. It won’t leave any scarring.

It is not as common as it could be.

Polymorphic means many forms and PMLE can look different for different people. PMLE can look like these examples.

The exact cause of PMLE isn’t known, but genetics are thought to play a role. Experts have suggested it may also be at least partly associated with:

The causes of PMLE are still being investigated, but the rash is brought on by UV light.

It’s important to note that, while UVA exposure is the typical cause, the rash can be a result of UVA or UVB exposure. This means that glass windows won’t provide enough protection from the sun to prevent a PMLE reaction.

Is it contagious?

PMLE is not contagious. You can’t catch it from someone else who has it, and if you have it, you can’t pass it to others.

Anyone can have PMLE, but it’s more common for people with lighter color skin, particularly Fitzpatrick skin type 1.

PMLE is about four times more common in women than in men. You might start feeling the symptoms at any age, but it typically begins in ages 20 to 40.

It occurs more often in places that are higher up.

There aren’t any severe physical complications strongly associated with PMLE, but a severe case of the condition may lead to:

If you find that your PMLE is affecting your well-being, a healthcare professional can help you manage it.

PMLE can undergo a process called hardening, which is not fully understood. Your skin can build up a tolerance to UV light.

The most severe eruption of the year may be your first.

Gradual hardening is one form of treating PMLE. This can be done through careful and measured exposure to sunlight, or it can be achieved through the use of phototherapy.

The sun becomes strong in the spring and can cause PMLE, so it is important to expose yourself to UV light a few times per week. This should be done by a professional. This has to be repeated after every winter.

After the rash has already appeared, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to help alleviate itchiness or burning.

Other medications that might be used to treat PMLE include:

If you have an unexplained rash, you should make an appointment with a primary care physician or dermatologist.

A rash can be a symptom of many different conditions. If you have a rash that is more serious, you may need to go to the emergency room. If you are unsure, call a doctor.

PMLE is usually diagnosed based on its symptoms, primarily the appearance of the rash when it occurs, where it’s located, and how quickly it heals.

A skin biopsy might be taken in order to confirm the diagnosis, but this is not always necessary. Blood tests might also be used to rule out other conditions.

“In some cases, a doctor might expose a small part of your skin to the sun’s UV light to confirm PMLE.”

To reduce the effects of PMLE, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends seeking shade and applying sunscreen. If you can, avoid the sun when it’s at its strongest during the middle of the day.

Experts recommend using sunscreen that’s SPF 50, broad spectrum (meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays), and water-resistant. You should reapply every 2 hours.

The AAD suggests covering your skin from the sun. There are many clothing choices that can help you do this.

  • dense fabrics
  • Dark or bright colors.
  • There are long-sleeve shirts and pants.
  • wraparound sunglasses with protection
  • Wide-brimmed hats cover your head, neck, and ears.
  • shoes that fully cover your Feet.

“Polymorphous light eruption is a condition that causes your skin to react to light. The sun’s UV light is the most important source of light.”

A rash will form when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It will heal on its own without additional exposure.

Women between 20 and 40 with pale skin are the most affected. It is most pronounced during the spring and summer.

“Your skin can build up a tolerance to the sun’s UV light during the summer, but it will go away during the winter.”

The best way to address PMLE is to avoid direct sun during the strongest parts of the day, wear appropriate sunscreen, and wear clothing that covers your skin. These are good practices for everyone.