Spongiotic Dermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is spongiotic dermatitis?

Spongiform necrosis (or spon) is a rare skin disease characterized by the breakdown of healthy skin cells into tiny pieces called granules. These granules cause redness, swelling, tenderness and itchiness on the affected areas. Spontaneous healing may not occur due to the lack of blood supply to these areas. When there is no blood flow, normal tissue growth stops. This leads to scarring, which can lead to further damage.

The condition is most common in children under 5 years old and affects mainly the face, hands and feet. It is usually not life threatening but can become so if left untreated. There are currently no effective treatments or cures for spon. Treatment involves keeping the affected area dry until it heals completely and avoiding exposure to sunlight.

How is spongiform necrosis diagnosed?

A doctor will perform a physical examination to rule out other possible causes of your child’s rash. A skin biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. If the cause of the rash is known, then treatment options may include medications such as corticosteroids and topical creams applied topically. However, these drugs must be used with caution because they can have side effects including itching and rashes.

How does spongiform necrosis spread?

Spon may spread from one area to another on the same person. It can also be spread from person to person by direct skin-to-skin contact or by touching objects contaminated by infected skin flakes. Crowded living conditions and lack of hygiene are risk factors for the spread of spon. This condition is not considered contagious and cannot be spread through coughing, sneezing, or casual contact.

Sources & references used in this article:

A vase-like shape characterizes the epidermal-mononuclear cell collections seen in spongiotic dermatitis. by PE LeBoit, BA Epstein – The American journal of dermatopathology, 1990 – europepmc.org

Telaprevir-related dermatitis by JC Roujeau, M Mockenhaupt, SR Tahan… – JAMA …, 2013 – jamanetwork.com

Lichen planus‐like atopic dermatitis: expanding the differential diagnosis of spongiotic dermatitis by BT Summey, SE Bowen… – Journal of cutaneous …, 2008 – Wiley Online Library

Hyperkeratotic dermatitis of the palms by K Hersle, H Mobacken – British Journal of Dermatology, 1982 – Wiley Online Library

Acquired Blaschko dermatitis: acquired relapsing self‐healing Blaschko dermatitis by HJ Lee, WH Kang, SK Hann – The Journal of Dermatology, 1996 – Wiley Online Library