Erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp: causes and treatments.

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Erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp is a rare condition which primarily affects older women after local trauma and has historically been treated with topical steroids. As it is a rare entity and resembles other dermatologic conditions, it may easily be misdiagnosed. Identifying the causes and evaluating the efficacy of treatments of erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp (EPDS) is of great importance to both avoid misdiagnosis and ensure optimal treatment of this rare condition. There are numerous causes. In addition to surgeries and physical injuries, topical and procedural treatments for actinic keratoses and androgenetic alopecia can trigger the development of lesions. There are also documented associations with several autoimmune and systemic conditions. Besides corticosteroids, topical tacrolimus and photodynamic therapy were the most commonly used treatments for EPDS. They were effective with few recurrences and adverse effects. Other successful treatment options were topical dapsone, silicone gels, calcipotriol, acitretin, and isotretinoin. Oral dapsone can be used in cases of disseminated disease. Zinc sulfate should be considered with low-serum zinc levels. While cyclosporine was effective, there were adverse effects that may limit its use. It is important for dermatologists to be aware of the wide array of potential causes of erosive pustular dermatosis and include it on their differential. Additionally, although high-potency topical steroids have been historically used as the first-line treatment, there are many other effective treatments that may avoid recurrence and skin atrophy, particularly in the elderly population.

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