Erythema ab igne

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Latin : redness from fire

A common rash characterised by reticulated telangiectasia and hyperpigmentation caused by repeated exposure to a heat source such as a hot water bottle or laptop[1][2]. It is present in up to 3% of an Italian population[3].


Differential diagnosis

An area of reticulated erythema that blanchs is rather suggestive. Consider:


Removal of the triggering heat source will result in resolution over several weeks to months in most presentations. Persistent hyperpigmentation is known and may respond to tretinoin or hydroquinone.


Malignant change, as for other sites of constant trauma, is possible after decades of exposure. Squamous, merkel cell carcinomas and cutaneous lymphoma have been described.


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