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April 1999

Chronic Actinic Dermatitis Is Not a Viable Concept

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Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(4):469-a-470. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Dermatol.-ISSN-0003-987x-135-4-dlt0499

The term "chronic actinic dermatitis" (CAD), coined by Hawk and Magnus,1 is used synonymously with the term "photosensitivity dermatitis/actinic reticuloid syndrome" coined by Frain-Bell and colleagues.2 Chronic actinic dermatitis encompasses 4 diagnoses: actinic reticuloid, photosensitive eczema, photosensitivity dermatitis, and more recently, persistent light reactivity,3 originally described as distinct disorders but generally accepted as variants of CAD. Burry4 questions the validity of the term CAD and the concept of a unifying diagnosis. In particular, he suggests that diagnostic errors will be made and diagnoses of airborne contact dermatitis (particularly Compositae dermatitis), photoallergic contact dermatitis, and allergy to photosensitizing medication will be missed and managed inappropriately.4 This is not the case.

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