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Pityriasis rubra pilaris

Definition

Pityriasis rubra pilaris is a skin disorder that causes constant inflammation and scaling (exfoliation) of the skin.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

There are many different types of pityriasis rubra pilaris. The cause is unknown, although genetic factors may play a role.

Symptoms

Pityriasis rubra pilaris is a chronic skin condition in which pink, scaly patches and thick skin develop on the hands and feet.

The pink scaly areas cover much of the body. Small "islands" of normal skin are seen within the areas of pink, scaly skin.

Treatment

Topical creams containing urea or lactic acid may help. More commonly, treatment includes pills taken by mouth such as isotretinoin, acitretin, or methotrexate.

References

Pityriasis Rosea, Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris, and Other Papulosquamous and Hyperkeratotic Diseases. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 11.


Review Date: 5/13/2011
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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