Photoallergic Contact Dermatitis

  • James Ferguson
  • Alastair C. KerrEmail author
Reference work entry


Topical photoallergic contact dermatitis (PACD) is thought to represent a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction when an exogenous agent combines with some component of the skin in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) and/or visible light.

Although PACD is relatively rare, it is also underdiagnosed as a cause of sunlight-exposed site dermatitis.

Photopatch testing is the investigation of choice for topical PACD, and a European consensus methodology for photopatch testing should allow greater comparison between centers.

Currently, organic UV sunscreen absorbers and topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the commonest photohaptens encountered by patients.

Clinicians should be aware of potential new photohaptens in the environment and have a low threshold for photopatch testing such agents.


Photoallergic contact dermatitis Photopatch testing Sunscreens Topical NSAIDs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Photobiology UnitNinewells Hospital and Medical SchoolDundeeUK
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyQueen Elizabeth University HospitalGlasgowUK

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