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March 1953


AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1953;67(3):284-301. doi:10.1001/archderm.1953.01540030047005

ALTHOUGH Willan in 1798, in describing eczema solare, suggested sensitivity to sunlight and Bazin in 1860 gave the name hydroa to a group of bullous lesions precipitated by sunlight, kindling of interest in light sensitivity has come within our time. The discovery of photosensitizers, particularly the porphyrins, in the early 1920's, placed undue stress on the association of light sensitivity with porphyrin excretion. Recent studies by Blum,1 Brunsting,2 Epstein3 and Lamb4 and their co-workers have dealt with various facets of the complicated problem of light sensitivity.

The present discussion revolves about the classification of cutaneous reactions to sunlight; the identification of the action spectra producing light sensitivity, and the use of chemical sunscreens.

The sun's rays concerned with light sensitivity range from approximately 2,900 to 8,000 A. In this spectrum ultraviolet lies between 2.900 and 3,900 A., visible light between 3,900 and 7,700 A., and