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Dermatitis Herpetiformis or Duhring’s Disease

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Dermatitis Herpetiformis. Blisters Opened Giving Relief From Pain and Itching.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis On Forearm. Skin Is Darkened Where Old Blisters Healed.

What Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an autoimmune extremely itchy, painful bullous skin rash (blistering eruptions) arising from the underlying dermis layer of skin as a consequence of gluten sensitivity.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is characterized by multiple intensely itchy, red blisters appearing on the elbows which can extend down the forearm to the wrist and the knees. Less usual areas involve the back, buttocks, scalp, and abdomen.

Q: Do the blisters leave a mark when healed?

A: Crops of skin eruptions begin with itching or a burning sensation in reddened papules. There are grouped vesicles and tense blisters. The blister contents may be serous or bloody, with symmetrical distribution (eg, both knees or both elbows). Fluid filled elements rupture leaving denuded areas of sore skin and crust. Subsequently, there is residual hypopigmentation (a white area) or hyperpigmentation (dark area).1

Rupture of blisters begins relief from intense burning and itching.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis Eruptions On Knees.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis Eruptions On Knees. Notice White Areas Showing Loss of Pigmentation From Healed Blisters.

What Is Dermatitis Herpetiformis In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?

Primary care providers should be aware of this skin condition, as they are more likely than a gastroenterologist to be confronted with this type of presentation of celiac disease.2


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  1. Mendes FB, Hissa-Elian A, de Abreu MA, Gonçalves VS. Review: dermatitis herpetiformis. An Bras Dermatol. 2013 Jul-Aug;88(4):594-9. []
  2. Robinson BL, Davis SC, Vess J, Lebel, J. Primary care management of celiac disease. Autoimmune Disorders. Nurse Practitioner. February 2015: Vol 40 – Issue 2; 28–34. []