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Erythema ab igne
Classification and external resources

Erythema ab igne showing on a patient's arms.
ICD-10 L59.0
ICD-9 692.82
DiseasesDB 4438
eMedicine derm/130

Erythema ab igne (also known as "Fire stains,"[1] and "Toasted skin syndrome"[1]) refers to skin that is reddened due to long-term exposure to infrared radiation.

Erythema ab igne (EAI) is a skin reaction caused by exposure to heat. It was once commonly seen in the elderly who stood or sat closely to open fires or electric heaters. But since Central Heating became widely used it is still sometimes found in people exposed to heat from other sources like heat packs, laptops[2], and hot water bottles. Overexposure to heat causes a mild red rash that might be described as 'blotchy'. Prolonged and repeated exposure causes a marked redness and colouring of the skin. The skin and underlying tissue may start to thin, and sometimes sores or lesions can develop. Some people may complain of mild itchiness and a burning sensation but often unless you can see the change in pigmentation it can go unnoticed.

Different types of heat sources can cause this condition such as:

Repeated application of hot water bottles or heat pads to treat chronic pain, e.g. chronic backache

Repeated exposure to car heaters or furniture with built-in heaters

Occupational hazard for silversmiths and jewellers (face exposed to heat), bakers and chefs (arms)

Treatment: The source of heat must be removed. If the area is only mildly affected with slight redness, the condition may resolve by itself in a few months. If the condition is severe and the skin pigmented and atrophic, resolution is unlikely. In this case, there is a possibility that squamous cell carcinomas may form. If there is a persistent sore that doesn't heal or a growing lump within the rash, a skin biopsy should be performed to rule out the possibility of skin cancer. Abnormally pigmented skin may persist for years. Treatment with topical tretinoin or laser may improve the appearance.

Untreated, it can lead to skin cancer.

It may also be seen in people with hypothyroidism, lymphoedema.

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. pp. Chapter87. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0.  
  2. ^ Levinbook, WS.; Mallet J; Grant-Kels JM (October 2007). "Laptop computer--associated erythema ab igne.". Cutis (Quadrant HealthCom) 80 (4): 319–20. PMID 18038695.  


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