4 Things Parents Need To Know About Transient Acantholytic Dermatitis

Transient acantholytic dermatosis, also known as Grover's disease, is a skin condition that is characterized by severe itching. Here are four things parents need to know about it.

What are the signs of transient acantholytic dermatosis?

If your child develops transient acantholytic dermatosis, you'll notice that they have crusted, red lumps on their skin. These lesions are itchy, sometimes severely so. Generally, this condition affects the trunk, upper legs, or upper arms, but it may be present in other areas of your child's skin as well.

The name of this condition is somewhat misleading, as the lesions aren't actually transient; in fact, they can last for many years.

What causes it?

The cause of this disease still isn't known, but researchers have identified many factors which may either cause or exacerbate the condition. Here are some factors which may be involved:

  • Warm temperatures or sweating;
  • Obstruction of the sweat ducts;
  • Sunlight;
  • Other skin conditions, like atopic dermatitis;
  • Pathogens such as viruses and bacteria;
  • Lymphoma.

These factors are still being studied and debated by the dermatological community. In the future, your child's pediatrician may be able to tell you what caused your child's condition, but for now, it's still a mystery.

What complications can it cause?

The complications associated with this condition are caused by excessive scratching. If your child constantly scratches their lesions, they can break the skin, which allows bacteria and other pathogens to get into their body, causing infections. To avoid this, remember to wash any broken skin and cover it with a bandage to keep it clean.

Constant scratching can also trigger the development of another skin condition, lichen simplex chronicus. In this disorder, scratching causes the skin to thicken, and then this thickened skin becomes itchy, leading to a constant cycle of itching and thickening. To avoid this, seek treatment for your child's itchy lesions.

How is it treated?

Your child's pediatrician can offer many treatments to ease the itch. Your child may be prescribed a high-potency steroid cream to rub on their lesions; this medication reduces inflammation and can help clear up the lesions. Antihistamines (allergy drugs) can also help to control the itching. Isotretinoin, a drug that's used to treat acne, can also be helpful, though it can take more than a month to start working, according to Derm101.

In cases of severe itching, more powerful treatments are available. For example, the pediatrician may prescribe systemic steroids. Systemic steroids aren't a cure, but they can induce a remission of your child's symptoms. 

If you think your child has transient acantholytic dermatosis, take them to a pediatrician immediately.