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Phytophotodermatitis in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Phytophotodermatitis in Adult

Contributors: Susan Burgin MD, Noah Craft MD, PhD, Lindy P. Fox MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Phytophotodermatitis is a cutaneous phototoxic eruption caused by the interaction of furocoumarins found in some common plants with solar UVA radiation. It is a common skin complaint in travelers to tropical regions. Approximately 24 hours after plant contact with subsequent exposure to sunlight, a burning erythema develops. Limes, other citrus fruits, celery, figs, meadow grass, certain weeds, and oil of bergamot are frequently causative. Exposure to the plant sap of wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa; "poison parsnip"), common throughout the United States, can cause severe phytophotodermatitis (when in bloom it looks similar to Queen Anne's lace or dill plant and grows to around 4 feet tall). Common scenarios include squeezing limes outdoors, gardening and agricultural work, and hiking or biking in areas of causative plants.

There is no predilection for any age or ethnicity or either sex, although phytophotodermatitis may be more noticeable in lighter skin phototypes. Bartenders and revelers handling citrus fruits are at higher risk. The condition is benign and self-limited, and treatment is supportive.

The term "Berloque dermatitis" refers to phytophotodermatitis from natural oil of bergamot in perfumes. This eruption is typically seen on the face and neck of women applying aerosolized fragrances. This has become rare since the introduction of artificial oil of bergamot.

Related topic: Hogweed dermatitis


L56.2 – Photocontact dermatitis [berloque dermatitis]

238521005 – Phytophotodermatitis

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Last Updated:08/07/2017
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Phytophotodermatitis in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Phytophotodermatitis : Burning skin, Citrus fruit exposure, Developed rapidly , Erythema, Hyperpigmented patch, Photosensitivity, Tense bullae, Tense vesicle
Clinical image of Phytophotodermatitis - imageId=226613. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Bright pink and brown linear patches and plaques on the legs as a result of exposure to limes and sunlight.'
Bright pink and brown linear patches and plaques on the legs as a result of exposure to limes and sunlight.
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