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Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Grover disease

Grover disease is a skin condition affecting the chest and back. It is also known as transient acantholytic dermatosis, but is more often actually a persistent acantholytic dermatosis.

Clinical features of Grover disease

Grover disease most often affects men over 50. It is less common in women or younger people. It is more common in those who are unwell in some way, but can arise in quite healthy people as well.

Grover diseaes often starts quite suddenly and is more common in winter than in summer. It results in small red, bumpy spots (papules) on the central back, mid chest and occasionally elsewhere. Although frequently itchy, it may cause no symptoms. The spots may be blistered, crusted or eroded. There may be slight bleeding.

Sometimes, Grover disease can be complicated by the development of dermatitis, usually in a nummular pattern i.e with round or oval-shaped plaques. These tend to present as larger itchy patches with a dry surface, and the rash may spread to affect other areas of the body.

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Grover disease

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What is the cause of Grover disease?

The cause is unknown. Sometimes, it follows sweating or some unexpected heat stress, so there has been suspicion that it may relate to the sweat ducts in some way. But it also may arise in quite dry skin. Many affected individuals are sun damaged.

How is the diagnosis made?

Dermatologists may make the diagnosis of Grover disease from the appearance of the rash, but a skin biopsy may be necessary to confirm it. The pathology of Grover disease is characteristic, with acantholysis (separated skin cells) with or without dyskeratosis (abnormal rounded skin cells).

How long does it last?

Most cases of Grover disease last six to twelve months. Occasionally it may persist for longer, or come and go, often with a seasonal variation.

Treatment of Grover disease

There is no curative treatment for Grover disease, but the following suggestions may be helpful.

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