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Blistering skin disorders: Clinical
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Blistering skin disorders are characterized by the presence of blisters, which are bubbles that pop up when serum collects in pockets under the top layer of the skin.
Blisters occur as a result of a loss of adhesion between cells within the epidermis - called acantholysis; edema between epidermal cells - called spongiosis; and dissociation between the epidermis and dermis.
Blisters that form within the epidermis tend to be more fragile than subepidermal blisters.
Blisters that are smaller than 1 centimeter in diameter are called vesicles, while blisters that are larger than 1 centimeter in size are called bullae.
There are various causes for blistering disorders, including autoimmune disorders, drug reactions, infections, genetic disorders, and traumatic injury. These conditions range from benign to life-threatening conditions.
Broadly speaking, blistering skin disorders may be divided into generalized or localized disorders.
Among generalized blisters, some cause systemic illness, whereas others don’t. Generalized blistering disorders that are not usually associated with systemic illness include miliaria crystallina, bullous impetigo, linear IgA bullous dermatosis, epidermolysis bullosa, pemphigus, pemphigoid, and dermatitis herpetiformis.
Miliaria crystallina typically results in multiple tiny vesicles on the face and trunk, due to obstruction of eccrine sweat gland ducts in the setting of excessive warmth.
Usually, the rash of miliaria resolves on its own, the key is to avoid overheating the body by wearing lighter clothing, staying hydrated, and keeping a cool environment, for instance by using air conditioner. A soothing ointment like calamine lotion can also help.
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