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Pityriasis lichenoides

What is it?

This condition is a vasculitis, which is an inflammation of blood vessels in the skin. The cause of Pityriasis lichenoides is unknown and the disease is also known as parapsoriasis guttata. It presents two clinical forms: an acute form (also called Mucha-Habermann disease) and a chronic form.

Characteristics and symptoms

Acute pityriasis lichenoides and varioliformis or Mucha-Habermann disease: affects the trunk and limbs, and usually does not affect the face. Form small lesions in the skin, slightly elevated, pink, which suffers necrosis (cell death) and progress to crusting. These crusts, when removed, can leave small depressed scars or white spots.

The disease manifests itself in episodes and lesions in different evolutionary stages may be seen simultaneously. The appearance may, in some cases, be preceded by fever and general symptoms (fatigue, headache, joint pain). Acute pityriasis lichenoides may regress spontaneously in weeks or months.

Chronic pityriasis lichenoides or chronic parapsoriasis guttata: lesions have similar characteristics to the acute form, but do not progress to necrosis and crust formation. On the surface of the elevated lesions, which are pink and small, is formed only scaling. These lesions may persist for weeks alone and then begin to recede, leaving spots that usually disappear with time. This process continues for years, with the formation and regression of lesions.


Treatments do not definitely eliminate the disease but may bring clinical improvement. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, the use of some antibiotics, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants have shown favorable results and should be prescribed according to each case by a dermatologist.

Related articles

- Parapsoriasis
- Pityriasis rubra pilaris

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