Transient acantholytic dermatosis, more commonly known as Grover’s disease, is a skin condition characterized by skin inflammation on the chest and back. The first indication of Grover’s disease is the development of red papules on the mid chest and central back, although these papules can appear elsewhere on the body. These papules can be itchy, but are generally harmless. Some can become crusted, blistered, or eroded, and may proceed to bleed. This is typically the only condition associated with Grover’s disease. However, the development of dermatitis can lead to more serious complications. The onset of Grover’s disease is often sudden, generally following heat stress or sweating. While the exact cause of Grover’s disease is not well known, it has been shown to be more common in the winter than the summer.
Grover’s disease can be easily treated, and should not be regarded as a serious condition. A small outbreak can be treated with the use of prescription topical cortisone. For more serious conditions, Tetracycline or Accutane pills should be taken for a one to three month period. To relieve itching (and prevent bleeding from aggravating papule) apply mild topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone. Calciportiol (a derivative of vitamin D) cream has been shown particularly effective for the treatment of Grover’s disease. Oral retinoids, such as isotretinoin and acitretin, can be useful in treating the symptoms. Certain patients have found oral antifungal medications or tetracycline helpful. Phototherapy can be effective, but should be avoided if possible because it can also aggravate symptoms.
As Grover’s disease is aggravated by heat, it is important to reduce heat exposure. Staying in a cool, non-moist space can help in the healing process. Wearing loose fitting clothing can help reduce aggravation from sweating. Use of moisturizers can help with the skin irritation and reduce bleeding. It is important to prevent further irritation from the skin, especially damage from the sun. If you notice the development of red papules on your chest or back, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. While Grover’s disease is not a serious condition, it can be an unpleasant disease.
Chris Gromisch is a Junior Chemistry major at Trinity College.