Spongiotic dermatitis

Spongiotic dermatitis

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Spongiotic dermatitis is a usually uncomfortable dermatological condition which most often affects the skin of the chest, abdomen, and buttocks. Spongiotic dermatitis causes outbreaks of small, itchy red blisters which can ooze and scar when scratched. Outbreaks of the condition, which can affect both children and adults, are usually brought on by exposure to an allergen.

The characteristic feature of the spongiotic dermatitis is epidermal reaction pattern is the presence of intercellular edema, histologically manifest an increase in the intercellular space between keratinocytes. In most cases, there is at least focal exocytosis of lymphocytes into the epidermis. Eosinophil and neutrophil exocytosis is much less common, and their presence invokes additional diagnostic consideration. If the severity of the response increases, there is widening of the intercellular space, eventuating in desmosomal rupture, followed by formation of vesicles within the epidermis. These vesicles may contain fluid, lymphocytes, and Langerhans cells, as well as acantholytic or ruptured keratinocytes.

Due to the fact that spongiotic dermatitis can be caused by exposure to a wide range of allergens, it can be difficult to determine what has led to an outbreak. Generally, outbreaks of spongiotic dermatitis are brought on by exposure to an allergen to which an individual has a particular sensitivity. The list of substances which may be at fault is long, and a substance which causes an onset of the condition in one person may cause no reaction in another. Potential allergens can include certain foods, cleaning products, soaps, perfumes, medications, cigarette smoke, or insect bites.

The exact prevalence is unknown, but it is more common in industrialized countries. This disorder is often the prelude to an atopic diathesis that includes asthma and other allergic diseases.

Preventive Measures:

    It often helps to reduce the processed foods in your diet, especially sugars. Do not use artificial sweeteners instead. Many people have allergic reactions to synthetic sugar.

  • Decrease your consumption of soda, especially if you drink diet soda, which contains artificial sweeteners. If you drink coffee or tea, try using honey to replace sugar.

  • If you are on medications for other conditions, talk to your doctor about possible allergic reactions. Ask about alternative medications or natural treatment options, but do not abruptly stop taking them. Contraceptive drugs can affect your skin as well.

  • Many of these slight changes can make a world of difference when you have spongiotic dermatitis. There is no real cure, but outbreaks can be prevented.


The common signs as well as symptoms of spongiotic dermatitis can be noticed on the patient's abdomen, chest and even bottom, and the appearance is much like a horrible rash which begins as a red color and which can then becomes darker as the condition grows, and at its worst, it can even appear totally black in color. Also, you should treat your spongiotic dermatitis condition to prevent it from becoming worse; in which case you will notice a raising in the rash and the appearance is quite crusty and there is also oozing as well, and you can best think of spongiotic dermatitis as being a weal with raised edges.


Often, the only way to pinpoint the allergen in question is through process of elimination. In other words, those suffering from an outbreak should make a note of any new substances they may have been exposed to shortly before their rash appeared. They should then eliminate exposure to each substance one by one, allowing time after each elimination to determine whether the rash improves. Note that multiple substances may cause spongiotic dermatitis in the same individual.

Allergy tests will be done that will determine exactly what substance is causing this painful skin rash.

Although absolute histologic distinction between the various categories of spongiotic dermatitis is not possible, there are some features that may be utilized to favor a more specific clinical pathological correlate.


The major part of the treatment involves avoiding chemicals present in soaps, washing powders, foods, etc that may trigger the rash. Once one diagnosis the condition as spongiotic dermatitis and narrows downs the triggers, one needs to concentrate on the treatment. The doctor may prescribe you with menthol lotions that need to be applied on the rashes and surrounding skin regions. These menthol lotions help in relieving the itchiness and discomfort. Other treatments include intake of vitamin A supplements for about 4 weeks. Severe and chronic spongiotic dermatitis treatment includes anti-inflammatory medications that help in reduction of inflammation. Women who are pregnant or nursing mothers should speak to their doctors regarding the medications prescribed. They should ensure that the treatment does not affect their fetus or baby in any way.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

1 Comment

  1. Andrew

    Spongiatic dermatitis triggered by hobo spider bites. I was bitten several times by young spiders above my coat rack in the garage. After a few days a blister, then a red rash turning into a weal, a very itchy area that looks a lot like Tinea Versicolor. After a biopsy we found the spongiatic dermatitis.


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