Have you heard about infants or kids suffering from severe sunburn just by spending a few minutes in the sun? This occurs when the child suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum. So, you might be curious to learn what xeroderma pigmentosum is, its symptoms, and treatments, aren’t you? Read on to get all your answers.

What Is Xeroderma Pigmentosum?

Xeroderma Pigmentosum, which is also popular as XP, is a rare, inherited disorder which makes the affected individual suffer from the harmful effects of extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It’s an autosomal recessive genetic disorder of DNA repair.In simple words, in case of any injury or damage to your body, there is process of DNA (cell) repair in the skin or any organ that functions effectively. In the case of XP affected individuals, there is a deficit in this nucleotide (DNA)excision repair that makes them suffer from extreme sensitivity to UV rays/ sunlight.It mostly affects the skin areas that are exposed to the sun and eyes. Some individuals suffering from XP also suffer from the problems of the nervous system. Xeroderma pigmentosum is quite rare and affects 1 in 1,000,000 individuals, particularly in Japan, Israel, North Africa, and Turkey.

Symptoms Of Xeroderma Pigmentosum:

There are various signs and clinical symptoms that tell you that the child or individual is suffering from xeroderma pigmentosum. Some of the common symptoms of this disorder are as below.

1. Skin Issues – Xeroderma (dry) Pigmentosum (pigmented):

Severe sunburns causing blisters in the skin or sunburns that last for many weeks.
Excessive dry skin – parched (like farmers /sailors) skin, scales, and rough skin
Irregular dark spots on skin
Complications – XP affected individual can be vulnerable to skin carcinoma (face/lips/eyes) and may suffer from Basal cell carcinoma / Squamous cell carcinoma / Melanoma.   Risk of carcinoma is1000 times more in cases of children who are younger than 20 years age.

2. Ophthalmic Problems:

Discomforts in eyes, such as irritation, pain, and photophobia
Cloudiness of cornea
Dark skin of eyes

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3. CNS (Central Nervous System) Symptoms:

In 20% cases of xeroderma pigmentosum, symptoms related to central nervous system (CNS) are observed. Some of the common CNS symptoms are:

Hearing loss
Poor coordination
Spastic muscles
Impaired intellect

4. Differential Diagnosis (similar diseases):

Diseases with similar symptoms that might accompany xeroderma pigmentosum are:

Hartnup disease
Cockayne syndrome
Rothmund Thomson syndrome.

Treatment For Xeroderma Pigmentosum:

The cure for xeroderma pigmentosum is not yet clear. However, there are various treatments and techniques to manage the symptoms and discomfort resulting due to xeroderma pigmentosum. Some of the effective treatments and techniques to alleviate the discomfort are as below:

Conventional Treatments: Going for conventional treatments, cryotherapy, or Fluorouracil can help you regulate the effects of xeroderma pigmentosum.
Avoid outdoor activity as far as possible to avoid sun damage (UV Rays).
When moving outdoors, please wear full sleeves, gloves, sunglasses, and scarf to protect your skin and prevent the skin damage due to the sunlight / UV rays.
When indoors, avoid Halogen lamps damage.
Use sunscreen lotions.
Increase the intake of fluids (dry skin), intake of Vitamin E (almonds/walnuts, and intake of Vitamin A (vegetables/fruits).
Regular check-ups with skin specialist and ophthalmic physicians can provide you relief.

Homeopathic Treatment:

Homeopathy too can help mitigate the discomfort due to xeroderma pigmentosum. Homeopathic remedies help to improve your immunity, reduce hypersensitive reactions, and promote healing.It can control the damage (intensity/frequency of lesions). Some of the homeopathic remedies to treat xeroderma pigmentosum are as follows:
Bryonia: It helps manage dry skin
Nat Mur: It helps treat dry skin and reduce sun-induced rashes
Sepia: Sepia soothes dry and pigmented skin
Alumina: It manages dry skin.
So, you happen to suffer from any skin problem, make no delay in consulting an expert and experienced homeopath to get a long-lasting relief.

-Written by Dr.Ujwala, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah.

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