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Pityriasis rubra pilaris

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Pityriasis rubra pilaris is a rare erythematosquamous cutaneous eruption with characteristic follicular papules that is associated with abnormal metabolism of vitamin A (resulting in low levels).

Pathological features:

  • hyperkeratosis
  • parakeratosis around follicular openings
  • mild inflammatory infiltrate in the papillary dermis

Clinical features:

  • erythema with occasional islands of normal skin.
  • follicular papules on the dorsa of the fingers.
  • yellow-coloured hyperkeratosis on the palms and soles
  • spontaneous resolution usually occurs in 6 months to 2 years

Differential diagnosis:

  • psoriasis
  • seborrhoeic dermatitis


  • systemic synthetic retinoids may be of use

Click here for example images of this condition

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