Berloque Dermatitis Treatment & Management

Updated: Jun 22, 2021
  • Author: Ali Alikhan, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Medical Care

The primary aim of the therapeutic regimen is discontinuation of the offending substance. If berloque dermatitis is the putative diagnosis, all bergamot oil-containing perfumes should be avoided. Any perfumes that are worn should be worn on covered-up areas, not on areas of sun exposure.

If the patient presents in the acute phase and is in considerable discomfort, wet compresses may be helpful in relieving the discomfort; a short course of topical corticosteroids may also be helpful. Simple analgesia may be given if the patient is in pain.

For secondary hyperpigmentation, the natural course of the dermatitis is spontaneous resolution after several months, but some lesions may persist much longer. The most important step is to minimize exposure to the sun. This may be done by avoiding strong sunlight whenever possible, avoiding the use of sunbeds and using a strong sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) with activity in both the UVA and UVB spectra. Camouflage also may be used on exposed hyperpigmented areas, for cosmetic reasons. Dermablend and Covermark are preparations combining a water-resistant opaque base with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

If the pigmentation is persistent, hydroquinone constitutes the mainstay of medical therapy. It usually is given twice a day, at a concentration of about 2-4%, for several months. At higher concentrations, the patient would be at risk of irritation. Hydroquinone sometimes is administered in conjunction with topical tretinoin (Retin-A). Kligman and Willis [20] devised a concoction known as Kligman's formula, consisting of hydroquinone, tretinoin, dexamethasone, ethanol, and propylene glycol, which they found effective in treating hyperpigmentation.