Dermatology clinic

Polymorphic light eruption

Bruce Tate



Polymorphic light eruption is a common rash that is triggered by sun exposure. It is easily managed with sun protection and topical or oral corticosteroids.

Article Extract

Case presentation

A 17-year-old girl presented after returning from a 10-day holiday in north Queensland. Unfortunately, the holiday had been disrupted when she developed a very itchy rash that she initially thought was from insect bites. It had appeared mild a few days after she arrived, but had then worsened substantially.

The patient described bite-sized itchy red papules and ‘small lumps’ that seemed to turn into hives on her face, lips, neck, upper trunk and arms. She had noticed a few mosquitoes and lots of sandflies in north Queensland. She had spent a lot of time in the sun during her holiday, although she did apply sunscreen regularly and wore a hat.