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Home ANTI-AGING & LONGEVITY Xeroderma Pigmentosum: Description, Causes, And Treatment Protocol

Xeroderma Pigmentosum: Description, Causes, And Treatment Protocol

by Lisa Sandton
Xeroderma Pigmentosum.


The genetic condition xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), which disrupts DNA repair pathways, makes people more vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV light. XP is marked by an extreme sensitivity to sunlight, which can result in severe sunburns, pigmentation that resembles freckles, and a high  risk of developing skin cancer. This illness may also be accompanied by neurological abnormalities, developmental delays, and ocular symptoms.

Genes associated with nucleotide excision repair (NER), the process that fixes UV-induced damage to DNA, are the main targets of mutations that lead to XP. Cellular processes are hampered and the danger of malignant transformation is increased in XP patients due to the malfunctioning NER system. The complementation domains (XP-A to XP-G) which constitute XP are separately linked to mutations in distinct NER-causing genes.

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Xeroderma Pigmentosum: Description, Causes, And Treatment Protocol is an original (HealthXWire) article.

Possible Causes

The main source of xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) involves genetic abnormalities that interfere with the body’s ability to repair DNA damage brought on  by ultraviolet (UV) exposure. You  need to inherit two mutant copies of the appropriate gene in order to acquire XP because the disorder is inherited autosomally recessively. XP has been linked to numerous genes, each of which is involved in the DNA-repairing procedure.

The primary causes of XP are mutations in genes connected to the nucleotide excision repair (NER) system. XPA, XPB, XPC, XPD, XPE, XPF, and XPG are a few of these genes. These mutations prevent the NER pathway, a system in charge of eradicating and repairing UV-induced DNA damage, from operating normally.

DNA damage builds up and is improperly repaired whenever the NER pathway gets damaged. Because of this, those who have XP are more sensitive to UV rays, which makes them more likely to have acute sunburns, freckling, and skin cancer, notably melanoma.

Exacerbating and Mitigating Factors

The factors that make xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) worse include:

UV Radiation Exposure: Being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays is the main cause that makes XP worse. The symptoms of XP can be markedly exacerbated by UV sources both natural and artificial, including UV lamps and tanning beds. If you have  XP, the deficient DNA repair systems are unable to efficiently repair the DNA damage caused by UV radiation, which increases the possibility of skin cancer and other symptoms.

Environmental Factors: Environmental factors can make XP symptoms worse. Chemicals and pollutants like specific pesticides, industrial chemicals, and air pollutants, might increase the potential for skin damage and perhaps intensify the side effects  of UV radiation if you have  XP.

Genetic Variants: Genetic variations within complementation groups can  trigger varied degrees of DNA repair failure, and as XP constitutes a genetically inherited condition, these variations can also cause different amounts of XP. XP symptoms that are more extreme and have a greater propensity to develop UV damage caused by radiation may be linked to specific genetic variations.

The factors that can help prevent xeroderma pigmentosum (XP):

Photoprotection Measures: Adopting strict photoprotection measures like the following is the most practical strategy to reduce the negative  impacts of XP:

  • Sunscreen

UV damage can be decreased by regularly and sparingly using broad-spectrum sunscreens containing a significant sun protection factor (SPF). It needs to be applied on all exposed skin, especially the hands, arms, neck, and face.

  • Protective Clothing

A physical defence against UV radiation is provided by wearing protective clothing which shields the skin, like wide-brimmed hats, long pants, long sleeves, and UV-blocking eyewear.

  • Sun Avoidance

If you have  XP, you should avoid being in the sun as much as possible, especially during the peak UV radiation hours. Exposure can be decreased by seeking shade, using  umbrellas, and scheduling outside activities during off-peak times.

Regular Skin Examinations: Regular skin checks are essential for early identification and treatment of skin malignancies. Dermatologists with experience in treating XP patients should undertake routine full-body skin exams on people with the condition. Any concerning lesions should be examined and treated immediately.

Ophthalmologic Care: Monitoring and managing XP’s ocular manifestations requires routine eye exams by an ophthalmologist. When outdoors, protective eyewear containing UV-blocking lenses must be used to reduce eye exposure to UV rays.

Psychological Support: Due to the limitations and elevated risk of acquiring skin malignancies, living with XP can be  emotionally difficult. Those  with XP along with their families might benefit from psychological support by seeking counselling or attending support groups, which can help them feel better emotionally and teach them coping skills.

UV radiation damages the skin.

Standard Treatment Protocols

The common treatment methods for XP mostly concentrate on preventing and treating skin malignancies, and they include the following:

Photoprotection: Strict photoprotection measures are the foundation of XP management since they reduce UV radiation exposure. The following are several examples:

  • Sun Avoidance

It is advised to seek shade when the sun is at its most intense, which is usually from 10 am to 4 pm.

  • Sunscreen

Broad-spectrum sunscreens having a substantial sun protection factor (SPF) should frequently be applied every two hours, especially  during times of prolonged sun exposure, which it ought to be reapplied.

  • Protective Clothing

The eyes and skin can be protected from UV rays by donning tightly woven, sun-resistant clothing like wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and UV-blocking eyewear.

Regular Observation and Skin Checkups: If you have  XP, you should have routine skin checks, preferably done by dermatologists with experience treating XP patients. This involves full-body skin examinations to identify any worrisome lesions or skin malignancies at early stages.

Ophthalmologic Care: The detection and management of optical signs of XP, such as light sensitivity or photophobia, conjunctival formations, and other types of eye abnormalities, depend on routine ophthalmologic tests. When outdoors, it is highly reccomended that you  wear safety glasses featuring UV-blocking lenses.

Lesion Removal: Precancerous alongside cancerous skin lesions are typically removed with dermatological procedures like surgical excision, cryosurgery, i.e., freezing using liquid nitrogen, and photodynamic therapy. These treatments lessen the possibility of malignant transformation along with the spread of already present lesions.

Cancer Treatment: Suitable treatment modalities like chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy might be required if skin cancers or other malignancies manifest. A multidisciplinary strategy combining oncologists, dermatologists, and surgeons can  be used to treat the patient, depending on the kind, stage, and site of the malignancy.

Lady applying cream on her face.

Treatment Options

There are numerous adjunct therapies and therapeutic choices that can help manage XP symptoms and enhance treatment outcomes alongside the typical treatment methods. Among them are the following:

Prescription Medications:

  • Retinoids

In certain XP cases, oral retinoids like isotretinoin have been used  to minimize the occurrence of new skin malignancies and stop the growth of pre-existing lesions. These drugs control the differentiation and proliferation of cells.

  • Immunomodulatory Drugs

Several immunomodulatory medications, like interferons, have demonstrated promise in preventing the growth of skin cancer and enhancing immune reactions in XP patients. Their usage is currently under examination, thus, more study is needed.

Over-the-counter Formulations: These include:

  • Moisturizers

The application of moisturizers with substances like chamomile, aloe vera, or oatmeal on a regular basis will help calm and hydrate the skin, reducing dryness and irritation brought on by XP.

  • Lip Balms

Since the lips are vulnerable to sunburn along with skin cancer, it is advised to use lip balms containing SPF protection to shield them from UV rays.

Nutritional Supplements: These include:

  • Antioxidants

Some antioxidant-rich supplements, like those containing vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, and selenium, could encourage cellular health and strengthen the body’s defenses against UV-induced cellular damage. It is believed that these vitamins lessen inflammation and oxidative damage.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Some necessary fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can improve skin health. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are excellent providers concerning omega-3 fatty acids.

Natural Remedies: These include:

  • Turmeric

The primary ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Although there is little research directly addressing XP, turmeric pills or topical treatments may be helpful in controlling XP symptoms.

  • Green Tea Extract

Polyphenols found in green tea have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Green tea extract has demonstrated potential in lowering UV-induced damage to DNA and defending the skin from photoaging, whether taken orally or topically.

Herbal Remedies: These include:

  • Aloe Vera Gel

Due to its calming and hydrating properties , aloe vera can  treat XP-related skin irritations such as sunburns. Organic aloe vera gel applied topically can reduce discomfort.

  • Comfrey

Comfrey, scientifically known as symphytum officinale, has long been applied topically to heal wounds and soothe inflammation. Comfrey includes substances that can possess hepatotoxic effects, thus caution should be taken.

Lip balms.


The effectiveness and safety of various treatment alternatives and adjunct treatments in the context of controlling XP symptoms need additional scientific evaluation, which is crucial to emphasize. They might offer potential benefits for controlling XP symptoms. Prior to beginning any treatment or supplementary therapy, if you have been diagnosed with XP, it is advised that you  to speak with your healthcare specialists to get individualized advice, guarantee proper usage, and have your condition monitored.


Additional resources for further reference

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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