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National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Dermatology

Photodermatoses – sunlight-induced disorders

Many sunlight-induced disorders have a devastating impact on people’s lives and can prevent them going outside. How can we protect and treat them?

The photodermatoses (photosensitivity disorders) are conditions where the skin is excessively sensitive to sunlight.  Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR), and sometimes even visible light, can trigger these inflammatory conditions, which have underlying immune, biochemical and genetic causes. Symptoms of the photodermatoses include severe burning, blistering and pain, and enhanced skin cancer risk in some conditions. Severe forms of these disorders prevent outdoor activities of normal life and have a large impact on social life, employment and wellbeing.

Further work is needed to develop targeted and effective protection and treatment strategies.

Through our research we are:

  • Researching patterns of sunlight-exposure behaviour, looking at the influence of age and ethnicity, to inform prevention of photodermatoses
  • Collaborating with Musculoskeletal researchers to characterise photosensitive endotypes of lupus patients and their responses to treatments
  • Working with Biomarker Platforms to identify biomarkers that are predictive of the skin’s response to sunlight and treatment
  • Building on previous work to invent and refine treatments to protect and repair photodermatoses
  • Exploring biomarkers linking UVR-induced inflammation to skin cancer development with the Cancer Precision Medicine researchers