Skip to Main Content


Poikiloderma of Civatte (POC) is a condition that is attributable to chronic sun exposure of the neck and the chest. The severity of findings is dependent on the duration and intensity of sun exposure, constitutive skin color (Fitzpatrick skin type), and the capacity to tan.


Incidence: common

Age: most frequently observed in persons older than 40 years

Sex: slight female predominance

Race: most common in fair-skinned individuals (skin phototypes I and II); rarely seen in darker-skinned individuals (skin phototypes IV–VI)

Precipitating factors: chronic sun exposure including intentional sun exposure since youth and occupational exposure; trauma; chronological aging


Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the most damaging UV radiation, with high dose ultraviolet A (UVA) contributing to the noted changes. In addition, visible and infrared radiations have been shown to augment the action of UVB.


Telangiectases, mild atrophy, reticulated hyperpigmentation, and hypopigmentation affecting the lateral and posterior aspect of the neck, anterior chest, and jawline. Submental neck is spared. Perifollicular sparing noted (Figs. 12.1 and 12.2).

Figure 12.1

Poikiloderma of Civatte. Reticulated pigmentation, erythema, and atrophy can be seen with characteristic sparing of the submental area. The erythematous component is more prominent in this patient. (Courtesy of Richard A. Johnson, MD.)

Figure 12.2

Poikiloderma of Civatte—the pigmented component is more prominent in this patient.


Epidermal acanthosis with flattening of the dermal–epidermal junction. Focal increase in epidermal basal cell melanocytes; irregular basal cell hyperpigmentation. Dermal collagen breakdown with formation of amorphous masses and increase in glycosaminoglycans. Telangiectasia noted.


Rothmund–Thomson syndrome; radiation dermatitis; Kindler syndrome; Bloom’s syndrome; Ataxiatelangiectasia.


Chronic progressive course with continued sun exposure.


  • Past and current sun exposure history

  • Occupation

  • Hobbies/sporting activities

  • Underlying medical conditions

  • H/o radiation therapy

  • Past treatments and response


Prevention: strict sun avoidance.


  • Topical therapy: daily sunscreen application with UVB/UVA coverage.

  • Laser therapy: great caution must be followed with any laser treatment administered to minimize the risk of scar formation, dyspigmentation, “finger-printing” or treatment skip areas, and textural changes. The neck is particularly prone to scarring given fewer pilosebaceous units. A test site is recommended. Multiple sessions are generally required.

    Laser fluences should be lowered by approximately 25% to 30% of facial parameters to avoid adverse effects.

    • – Pulsed dye ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.