Keratoelastoidosis marginalis

Author: Adjunct Associate Professor Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. July 2018.

What is keratoelastoidosis marginalis?

Keratoelastoidosis marginalis is an acquired form of marginal keratoderma. It is characterised by small firm warty or pearly papules on the sides of the index fingers and thumbs in patients that have had a lot of exposure to the sun. It is more common than acrokeratoelastoidosis, the inherited form of marginal keratoderma.

Other names for keratoelastoidosis marginalis are degenerative collagenous plaques of the hands, marginal papular acrokeratoderma, marginal keratoelastoidosis of the hands, collagenous and elastotic marginal plaques of the hands, and digital papular calcific elastosis.  

Keratoelastoidosis marginalis

Who gets keratoelastoidosis marginalis and why?

Keratoelastoidosis marginalis arises in older people of any skin colour that have mainly worked outdoors.  It is part of the skin ageing process and results from degeneration of the deeper layers of the skin by trauma and ultraviolet radiation.

What are the signs and symptoms of marginal keratoderma?

Keratoelastoidosis marginalis is diagnosed in patients over 50 years of age. Irregular, sometimes crateriform, keratotic papules arise on the lateral sides of the index fingers and the medial sides of the thumbs and may coalesce into plaques. Surrounding skin tends to have a yellowish hue. Patients may have other signs of sun damage, such as solar elastosissolar comedones and Favre-Racouchot syndrome.

Once developed, keratoelastoidosis marginalis remains unchanged indefinitely. The papules do not usually cause any symptoms. 

How is the diagnosis of keratoelastoidosis marginalis made?

In most cases, keratoelastoidosis marginalis is a clinical diagnosis determined by age of onset, lack of family history, presence of other signs of sun damage.

skin biopsy may be performed. Histopathological examination reveals focal hyperkeratosis, acanthosis, hypergranulosis and elastorrhexis as well as other solar degenerative changes. 

What is the treatment for keratoelastoidosis marginalis?

Keratoelastosis marginalis has been treated with laser therapy, topical keratolytics such as salicylic acidtopical retinoids (tazarotene and tretinoin), oral isotretinoin, and cryotherapy. These may provide temporary relief. Lifelong daily year-round sun protection is recommended.


Related Information


  • Zanini Maurício. Focal acral hyperkeratosis: case report and discussion on marginal keratodermas. An. Bras. Dermatol.  [Internet]. 2006  Oct [cited  2018  July  14] ;  81( Suppl 3 ): S293-S296. Journal
  • Bhobe M, Tambe S, Jerajani H, Parulkar P. Keratoelastoidosis marginalis of the hands: A report in two farmers. Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2016;7(3):195-197. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.182364. Journal.
  • OMIM – Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (search term Acrokeratoelastoidosis)

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