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Acta Derm Venereol. 2005;85(1):24-6.

UVB 311 nm tolerance of vitiligo skin increases with skin photo type.

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Netherlands Institute for Pigment Disorders, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


It is assumed that skin is protected against sunburn by melanin. In patients with vitiligo, there are white patches in the normal pigmented skin. We noticed that there is a difference in burning capacity of these white patches between people with different skin types. With UVB 311 nm lamps, we irradiated both lesional and non-lesional skin with increasing doses in 33 patients with vitiligo, divided into 5 groups according to skin type (II-VI). Twenty-four hours later we assessed the minimal erythema dose and found a correlation between skin type and UV sensitivity in both lesional skin and normal skin. We suggest that there must be a protection mechanism, other than that offered by melanin pigmentation. The antioxidant status may play a role in this phenomenon.

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