Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs) (cont.)

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Can any foods or plants cause sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) reactions?

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Some vegetables and plants may cause sun sensitivity if they come into contact with the skin. Mango peel, lime juice, parsnips, or celery, for example, may cause temporary discoloration (darkening) of the skin contact area when in the sun. Common phototoxic fruits and vegetables include:

  • Lime
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Figs
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips

Pictures of food and plant sun-sensitivity (photosensitivity) reactions

Picture of phytophotodermatitis hyperpigmentation
Picture of phytophotodermatitis hyperpigmentation
Picture of photodermatitis
Picture of photodermatitis
Picture of photodermatitis with blisters
Picture of photodermatitis with blisters

Are there any medical applications of sun sensitivity (photosensitivity)?

Photodynamic therapy utilizes the concept of sun or light sensitivity to treat some skin conditions including skin pre-cancers (actinic keratosis), skin cancers, and acne. Briefly, this treatment takes advantage of activating a photosensitizing drug (such as 5-aminolevulinic acid) by shining light directly onto it for a short time. The drug is first applied to the area of the skin where the cancer or pre-cancer is found. With light-induced activation of the drug, the abnormal cells (cancer or pre-cancer) are destroyed preferentially.

Medically reviewed by Donald Lee, DO; Board Certified Family Practice

REFERENCES:

Arndt, K. et al. Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery: An integrated program in dermatology. N Engl J Med 1996; 335:826 September 12, 1996

MedscapeReference.com. Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.

New England Journal of Medicine 2004;350:1111-1117. Photosensitivity by Morrison, MD.

Previous contributing author: Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2014

Patient Comments

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Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Medication Types Question: If you had a sun-sensitive reaction to a drug, what was the medication? What were your symptoms?
Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Symptoms Question: Describe your reaction or symptoms to a sun-sensitive medication. When did symptoms appear?
Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Treatment Question: What types of treatment, including other medications, did you receive after experiencing a sun-sensitive drug reaction?
Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Foods and Plants Question: Do certain vegetables, fruits, or plants cause you to have a photosensitivity reaction? Discuss your experience.

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