Erythema Ab Igne

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Erythema Ab Igne

Most common on the legs of women as a result of warming themselves in front of open fireplaces, radiators or heaters. Also very common on the back and abdomen produced by a hot water bag or electric heating pad. The condition also occurs in cooks and others exposed to direct heat over a long period of time.

Erythema Ab Igne or “redness from fire” is a persistent erythema that is usually produced by long term exposure to excessive heat without producing a burn. It begins as a mottling caused by local hemostasis and becomes a reticulated erythema, leaving pigmentation.

Hallmark of the disease:
reticulated red/brown patch in the area receiving the chronic heat exposure

The first line of treatment is to discontinue the exposure to excessive heat. The use of mild emollients is helpful. There is no effective treatment, but the use of hydroquinone in hydrophilic ointment containing retinoic acid and dexamethasone may help reduce the pigmentation.

Normal course:
After the cause is removed, the affection tends to gradually disappear, but occasionally the pigmentation is permanent.

Patient education:
Explain the the condition is a direct cause of chronic heat exposure and the treatment lies in its avoidance

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