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What is lucite? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Lucite is an extremely common sun-related dermatosis, affecting 20% ​​of the adult population in its most common form, benign summer lucite. Another recurring form is polymorphic lucite.

Definition of lucite

Summer lucite, polymorphic lucite: the different lucites

Lucite is an eruption occurring on the skin areas exposed to the sun. In France, there are two types of lucites that are grouped under the single term “polymorphous light eruption” in the Anglo-Saxon world:

Benign summer lucite

The benign summer lucite usually appears on the 2nd or 3rd day of the first intense and prolonged sun exposure, hence its summer name, but it can be triggered on sunny weekends, winter holidays in the tropics. .. or after a session in a tanning booth. It heals in 1 to 2 weeks and the tan protects against recurrence during the summer (it is called “protective tan”).

Polymorphic lucite

The polymorphic lucite is much rarer, it concerns young adults and appears the day after a moderate solar exposure and lasts generally from the beginning of the spring until the autumn.

Causes of lucite

The cause of the lucites is poorly known. However, it is known that the ultraviolet radiation involved differs: UVB for polymorphic lucite and UVA for benign summer lucite.

Who is affected by this allergy?

Benign summer lucite: it concerns about 1/4 of the adult population, especially young women

Polymorphic lucite: it concerns adults without predominance of sex

Evolution and possible complications

Benign summer lucite: the summer surge heals most often in a few days, but it tends to reoffend the following years, often getting worse: it appears earlier and earlier in the season, for more and more moderate exposures, heals less quickly during the summer and affects skin areas of increasing importance.

Polymorphous lucite: it recurs with each solar exposure which is very disabling. It tends to become chronic, leaving constant lesions of morphology and different ages on the skin.

Symptoms of lucite

Benign summer lucite

It causes small rosy-red pimples that itch a lot on areas exposed to the sun, especially on the top of the trunk (neckline, shoulders, arms …), usually respecting the face.

Polymorphic lucite

The term ‘polymorphic’ means that it takes many forms, in fact the pimples are of variable age and shape, often in the same patient: small infiltrated plaques, vesicles, red patches on the skin, urticarial plaques (as if the skin was swollen) … All areas exposed to the sun are affected, including the face and back of the hands.

Risk factors

Exposure to UV, especially to the sun is the main risk factor for lucite: in the case of well-conducted sun protection, we hardly observe any more thrusts

The opinion of expert

Benign summer lucitis is an extremely common pathology from the first suns. It tends to worsen from summer to summer but can be easily avoided by following the usual advice of photoprotection: look for shade, wear covering clothes, a sun protection product well against UVA … We must favor the UVA logo surrounded, sign that the filters meet European standards. There are also sunscreens specific to Lucite Estivale Bénigne

Polymorphic lucite is much more painful for the patient because it makes solar exposures almost impossible especially between 12 and 16 hours, when the UVB are the most numerous and powerful.

Prevention and treatment of lucite

Benign summer lucite

The brutal exposure to the sun of untanned skin is the triggering factor. Basic sun protection rules usually protect against breakouts (looking for shade, gradually exposing themselves day after day, wearing protective clothing and applying 50+ solar products every two hours to exposed areas with a high UVA protective coefficient). , especially those containing tinosorb M, mexoryl XL, butyl methoxydibenzoyl methane or dibenzotriazole (example: Photoderm Max, Uriage 50 + , Avène 50 + , Anthélios 50 +  …) sometimes associated with an antiradical complex (Eucerin LEB protection).

It is possible to associate with these protection tips internal photoprotective products, taken orally, for example based on carotenoids, para-aminobenzoic acid or even nicotinamide, 15 days before and 15 days after the beginning of the exposure.

In case of failure of previous treatments, the doctor can perform sessions 2 to 3 times a week, ultraviolet cabinet in the two months before the summer vacation.

Polymorphic Lucite

Again, the basic sun protection rules usually protect against breakouts (look for shade, gradually expose themselves day after day, avoid the sun between 12 and 16 h, wear protective clothing and apply UVB solar products every two hours). 50+ on the exposed areas.

In case of outbreaks despite sun protection, may have used synthetic antimalarials (Nivaquine, Plaquenil) started 10-15 days before the start of exposure and continued during the duration of photosensitivity is usually from April to September under ophthalmic control (because this molecule tends to be deposited after 3 months in the retina and interfere with color vision).

In case of failure of previous treatments, the doctor can perform sessions 2 to 3 times a week, ultraviolet cabinet in the two months before the summer vacation.

How to treat lucite?

The lucite crisis is treated with dermocorticoids and antihistamines such as cetirizine at twice its usual dose.

Complementary approach

Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, found in many colorful fruits and vegetables, including carrots, hence its name. It has antioxidant and photoprotective properties by obtaining an orange coloring of the skin, absorbing some ultraviolet light.

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