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December 1959

Phototoxicity, Photoallergy, and Photoskin Tests

Author Affiliations

Hanover, N.H.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(6):678-689. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560240030004

Heat, cold, trauma, and light are the physical agents concerned in the production of physical hypersensitivity. Physical hypersensitivity to light is the most important and the most common of the dermatoses caused by these physical agents. Light is the etiologic agent in polymorphic light eruptions, solar urticaria, contact photodermatitis, and endogenous photochemical dermatitis. Light is a major precipitating factor in certain cases of skin diseases associated with porphyria, psoriasis, pityriasis rubra pilaris, keratosis follicularis, pellagra, lupus erythematosus, acne rosacea, herpes simplex, xeroderma pigmentosum, keratosis, cancer, and keratoacanthoma.

For over a century the diseases produced by light have been studied, with a marked surge of interest over the last decade or two. Because of this, there are now certain fundamentals available, as well as basic equipment, for the study of light hypersensitivity. Application of these essentials, however, has not become routine office procedure for prac