What Is Erythematous Mucosa and How Is It Treated?
Erythematous mucosa (EM) is a common skin condition affecting millions of people worldwide. It affects the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. EM occurs when dead cells are trapped between the outermost layer of the skin and underlying connective tissue. These trapped cells cause redness, itching, or burning sensations in areas where they have collected.
The term “mucosal” refers to any part of your body’s internal organs such as your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, intestines or kidneys. The word “eumelanin,” which means melanin, describes the pigment that gives most humans their dark hair and skin color. Melanin protects us from sunburn and other harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.
When UV rays strike our skin, they break down certain types of cell in our bodies called keratinocytes. Keratinocytes produce eumelanin pigments to protect against damage caused by these damaging rays.
The exact cause of erythematous mucosa (EM) is unknown. It is believed to be due to an over-production of eumelanin, a dark pigment in the body that protects against sunburn and other harmful effects of UV rays. Melanin’s over-production may be caused by prior damage from sun exposure.
Em can be classified based on the affected tissue. Most people develop EM on the face, vital organs, or limbs. It can be caused by hormones, skin disorders, infection, certain medications, and even mental stress.
The main symptom of erythematous mucosa is redness on your face and other areas of your body. As mentioned above, this condition is generally harmless but it may also be a sign of a more serious condition that needs medical attention.
A common example of an “uncommon” type of erythematous mucosa is a rash caused by chewing tobacco or nicotine. These symptoms are most likely to occur in your lips, underneath your nose, or on your chin. Other types of “uncommon” erythematous mucosa can be seen on the neck, chest, and shoulders.
These symptoms are usually minor and can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription meds. If your symptoms are more severe, see a medical professional immediately.
How is erythematous mucosa spread?
Erythematous mucosa is not contagious or infectious. It is not something you can “catch” from another person. It’s usually caused by too much sun exposure or use of certain skin creams or ointments that may irritate the skin.
What are the treatment for erythematous mucosa?
If your erythematous mucosa is caused by a reaction to a certain substance, then you should avoid using it. It may also help to moisturize your skin or use a mild hydrocortisone cream or lotion to relieve the itching or burning sensation.
If you have EM on your face, talk to your doctor about prescription meds that can reduce the redness and swelling. Also, you should limit your sun exposure. If it gets really bad, you may need a dermatologist to prescribe stronger medication to help with the condition.
A complete recovery from erythematous mucosa takes time so don’t expect the redness and swelling to disappear immediately. The skin needs time to regenerate its outer layers so you will need to give it this time.
What are the preventive measures for erythematous mucosa?
The best way to prevent erythematous mucosa is to limit your sun exposure and always wear sunscreen when you go out in the sun. If you have to be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear a wide-brimmed hat or clothing that covers your skin.
Also, don’t use certain skin care products that may irritate the skin such as those containing salicylic acid or Retin-A. Stop using these types of products at least a week before being in the sun so your skin has time to calm down.
If you chew tobacco, quit! This is not only bad for your health but it can lead to unsightly sores inside your mouth and on your gums.
Sources & references used in this article:
Successful treatment of severe acute intestinal graft-versus-host resistant to systemic and topical steroids with alemtuzumab by M Schnitzler, J Hasskarl, M Egger, H Bertz… – Biology of Blood and …, 2009 – Elsevier
Endoscopic treatment of gastritis cystica polyposa found in an unoperated stomach by JS Park, SJ Myung, HY Jung, SK Yang… – Gastrointestinal …, 2001 – giejournal.org
Clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of erythema multiforme: a review for the practicing dermatologist by O Sokumbi, DA Wetter – International journal of dermatology, 2012 – Wiley Online Library
Use of injectable platelet‐rich fibrin in the treatment of plasma cell mucositis of the oral cavity refractory to corticosteroid therapy: A case report by R Gasparro, D Adamo, M Masucci… – Dermatologic …, 2019 – Wiley Online Library
Corticosteroid treatment of erythema multiforme major (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) in children by T Kakourou, D Klontza, F Soteropoulou… – European journal of …, 1997 – Springer
Pathogenesis and treatment of oral candidosis by D Williams, M Lewis – Journal of oral microbiology, 2011 – Taylor & Francis