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March 1981

Polymorphic Light Eruption Initially Confined to the Ears

Arch Dermatol. 1981;117(3):186-187. doi:10.1001/archderm.1981.01650030064023

Polymorphic light eruptions are a group of photodermatoses that differ in their clinical appearance and are of unidentified causes.1 Frequently, the eruptions can be reproduced by exposure to natural or artificial radiation.2 The histologic findings, although nondiagnostic, are characteristic of the disease.3 The lesions are papular, papulovesicular, plaque-like, or eczematous and are usually confined to sun-exposed areas. However, they do not develop in all areas of sun exposure, an often observed but unexplained phenomenon. We observed two patients with polymorphic light eruptions in whom lesions were confined to the helix of the ears for more than two years. Eventually, a more widespread, clinically diagnostic dermatosis developed.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.—  A 27-year-old white man with a two-year history of red nodules on the helix of his left ear was first examined in March 1976. The lesions appeared and regressed spontaneously. On examination, there were small erythematous