Chronic actinic dermatitis (CAD) known also as photosensitivity dermatitis or actinic reticuloid syndrome is a dermatological diseases characterized by inflammation of the skin in areas exposed to artificial light or sunlight. The condition is more common for men over 50 years of age, but also can affect women and young patients suffering from atopic dermatitis.
Although actinic dermatitis is not a life-threatening conditions, it requires significant lifestyle changes to prevent contact with allergies and extensive exposure to sun.
The exact cause of CAD remain unknown. It is believed that the immune system affects the skin making it more sensitive to ultraviolet and visible light.
Because the photosensitivity includes ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, patients can develop chronic actinic dermatitis even on cloudy days. That is why it is not always easy to determine sunlight as the main source of the disease. In many cases doctor may have some difficulties to diagnose CAD. Among physical tests dermatologist can recommend phototesting. Phototesting is test analyzing the reaction of skin to known amounts of light of specific wavelengths. Patch testing is also actively used in diagnosing of chronic actinic dermatitis.
Treatment of chronic actinic dermatitis includes several approaches: