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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 57, n° 4
pages 638-643 (octobre 2007)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.05.043
accepted : 29 May 2007

Photodermatoses in African Americans: A retrospective analysis of 135 patients over a 7-year period

Holly A. Kerr, MD, Henry W. Lim, MD
Multicultural Dermatology Center, Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan 

Reprint requests: Henry W. Lim, MD, Henry Ford Medical Center–New Center One, Department of Dermatology, 3031 W Grand Blvd, Suite 800, Detroit, MI 48202.

The frequency of photodermatoses in African Americans has not been well characterized.


To evaluate the frequency of photodermatoses in African Americans in an academic medical center during a 7-year period. This was compared with that observed in Caucasians seen during the same period.


A retrospective chart review of 2200 dermatology clinic charts from August 1997 to September 2004 was performed. Charts of patients with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnostic codes related to photodermatoses were included.


Two hundred eighty patients with photodermatoses were identified: 135 (48%) African Americans, 110 (40%) Caucasians, and 35 (12%) patients of other races. In African Americans and Caucasians, the frequency of diagnoses was as follows: polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) (67.4% and 41.1%, respectively), systemic phototoxicity (13.3%, 10.7%), chronic actinic dermatitis (11.1%, 7.1%), porphyrias (0.7%, 21.4%), solar urticaria (2.2%, 8%), and other (5.2%, 10%). There was a statistically significantly higher proportion of African Americans with PMLE (P < .0001) compared with Caucasians. There was a statistically significantly higher proportion of Caucasians with porphyrias and solar urticaria (P  < .001 and = .03, respectively) compared with African Americans.


This study was a retrospective analysis.


Photodermatoses occur regularly in African Americans. With the notable exceptions of PMLE, porphyrias, and solar urticaria, the frequency of photodermatoses in African Americans was similar to that in Caucasians.

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Abbreviations used : ANA, CAD, HH, PCT, PMLE, SU

 Funding sources: None.
 Conflicts of interest: None declared.
 This study has been presented at the annual meeting of the Skin of Color Society, New Orleans, in February 2005, as well as at the Michigan Dermatology Society meeting, Detroit, in October 2005.

© 2007  American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.@@#104156@@
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