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Pigment Cell Res. 1999 Oct;12(5):316-22.

Ephelides are more related to pigmentary constitutional host factors than solar lentigines.

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Department of Dermatology and Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands.


Ephelides and solar lentigines are benign pigmented spots, which are currently associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. These two pigmented spots are known to be discriminated by their clinical, histological, and electron microscopic characteristics, even though occasional misclassification can occur because of their similarity. It has also been questioned whether these spots are not one and the same. In this study, we have attempted to differentiate between these two pigmented spots with the use of a standardized protocol for clinical examinations on 272 healthy volunteers, paying particular consideration to their pigmentary and constitutional host factors. We found that solar lentigines 1) are more prevalent than ephelides, 2) increase in prevalence and number with higher age, and 3) are most prevalent on the trunk and occur more frequently in males than in females. A trend is also observed whereby ephelides 1) loose their prevalence with age, 2) become equally distributed on the face, arms, and trunk, and 3) occur more frequently in females. An intimate association of ephelides, but not solar lentigines, has been found with hair color and skin type. All of these findings are in agreement with most of those reported in the literature, supporting the view that ephelides and solar lentigines are different types of pigmented lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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