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Summary

Background  Juvenile spring eruption of the helices of the ears is a distinctive sun-induced condition appearing on the light-exposed skin of the ears, typically in boys and young men in early spring.

Objectives  To determine clinical features and outcome of juvenile spring eruption of the ears.

Methods  We report a new outbreak in 14 Swiss-Italian children. A systematic search of the literature was also performed.

Results  Five outbreaks in children involved a total of 203 cases (boys, 72%), and three outbreaks in young adults involved 223 male subjects. A further 54 sporadic cases were found: 41 among children (boys, 97%) and 13 among young adult males. The typical presentation included itching and diffuse erythema of both ears starting in the evening after exposure to bright sunlight during cold weather, followed within 24–48 h by papules or blisters. No other organ system was involved. The subjects recovered spontaneously without sequelae within 1–2 weeks. In New Zealand, among 162 school-aged boys, 20 developed the condition.

Conclusions  A limitation is that the analysis was based upon the scanty available literature. Juvenile spring eruption is a self-limiting and generally easy recognizable variant of polymorphic light eruption. Outbreaks tend to appear on sunny and cold spring days. Paediatricians and general practitioners might rapidly develop the skills necessary to clinically appreciate this condition.