Blistering Disorders

Blistering skin disorders are conditions in which there are fluid-filled skin lesions on the body. Blistering disorders are different from the typical blister you may get from wearing a new pair of shoes and often require testing to diagnose. Although there are several types of blistering disorders, the most common stem from autoimmune conditions and can lead to moderate to severe itching, bleeding, and open sores. Unlike the common blister that may arise from a slight irritation, blistering disorders form lesions within the deeper layers of the skin, making it much more serious. Blistering can appear as a widespread rash on the body and become increasingly irritated through contact with clothing, soaps, and chemicals. Both men and women can be affected by blistering conditions, however it is more commonly found in older individuals. If you believe you have developed a blistering disorder, it is important to make an appointment with a dermatologist for proper treatment.

Causes: Autoimmune Diseases

Pemphigus Foliaceus

Pemphigus Foliaceus are surface level blisters that can appear on the chest, back, shoulders, mouth, throat, eyes, scalp, or genitals. These blisters typically present as crusty spots that flake on the surface level of the skin. Once blister patches become visible, they will continue to spread across the body. This disorder is less severe, but may require testing to confirm.

Pemphigus Vulgaris

Many cases of Pemphigus Vulgaris starts with blisters inside the mouth and later spreads to the rest of the body. These blisters grow in the deepest layers of the skin and cause erosion of the skin and mucous membrane. In this condition, the immune system fights the proteins in the skin and membrane, which causes the blisters to form and bubble. Pemphigus vulgaris can be linked to genetics and in rare cases, through certain medication intake. Growth and spread of large blisters across the body can lead to severe infections and must be treated by a dermatologist.

Bullous Pemphigoid

Pemphigoid blisters are deep-layer blisters that typically affect the elderly. Blisters form on the skin in areas of movement including the arms, legs, armpits, and joints. Bullous pemphigoid starts as large itchy rash or hives without any blisters. After several weeks, blisters will begin to form and will cause itching, burning, and redness. It may take several treatments before bullous pemphigoid is completely healed and may regrow after treatment.

Diagnoses and treatment options

If you are experiencing unexplained blisters in the mouth or across the body, it is important to make an appointment with a dermatologist. Although blistering disorders can remain mild, some can cause infection or permanent skin damage and requires immediate treatment. To properly diagnose, you dermatologist may perform a physical examination, review your personal and family medical history, order blood testing, or perform a skin biopsy. More specific treatment plans may be created after diagnosis, however the most common forms of treatment include:

  • Oral or topical corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Antibiotic or antifungal medication
  • Home remedies including avoiding certain foods, minimizing sun exposure, and maintaining good oral health

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