I am a 30-year-old Indian woman suffering from severe sun burn on my upper palm. It lessens after applying an ointment, but now has become worse.

You have not provided much information for me to come to a proper diagnosis. It could have been much better to mention whether this diagnosis has been made by a doctor you consulted or is your self-diagnosis.

Broadly speaking, recurrent severe sunburns targeting upper palm will be taken as an extremely rare case, if diagnosis is truly accurate. On hands, most of the sunburn reactions are seen affecting the skin of the dorsal (outer) side of the hands, as skin on the palm is the thickest together with soles of the feet. As such, it has extremely high defensive capability against common sunburn reactions.

However, certain cases of photochemical reactions have been seen affecting the palmar skin. In this case, if one has applied perfumes or toiletry lotions which have photo-sensitising ingredients and then get exposed to intense sunlight, it can result in a photosensitive/photoallergic chemical reaction which can look very similar to a “sunburn reaction” — which is primarily a type of photo-toxic reaction due to prolonged exposure to high-intensity sunlight on unprotected skin areas.

Comprehending your skin problem has been made further difficult because you have not mentioned any history of your sun exposure habits. Your occupation is also not mentioned.

I suspect either chronic hand dermatitis or palmar psoriasis to be fitting more logically into the description of your skin complaints as given in your question. You have also not said what type of ointments you have been using. Again, I will guess that these could be most likely some steroid base preparations.

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Since details are not available in your query, it will be an uphill task to come to a diagnosis. Also, it will be unethical to some extent to give you any certain diagnosis and suggest a treatment plan. Therefore, my advice will be to please consult an experienced dermatologist at an earliest who can reach a conclusive diagnosis after proper clinical examination of the affected skin areas and can prescribe a suitable effective treatment, which can offer you a long-term relief.

Dr Ikramullah Al Nassir is a Dubai-based dermatologist. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.