Ulerythema ophryogenes and keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans are rare folliculocentric keratotic disorders, from the group of follicular genokeratoses, characterized by keratosis pilaris atrophicans: follicular keratotic papules, sometimes with surrounding erythema, which eventually result in fibrosis, atrophy, progressive scarring and permanent hair loss. Ulerythema ophryogenes begins at birth or soon thereafter; it involves the lateral eyebrows, spreads medially and eventually affects the entire eyebrows, cheeks, and less frequently, forehead and asjecebt scalp. Involvement of the scalp has apparently not been reported in cases in which the eyebrows were predominantly involved. In addition to sporadic cases, ulerythema ophryogenes has been reported among relatives. Keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans is also a genetically heterogeneous syndrome which begins in infancy or childhood by involving hair bearing skin, especially the scalp; rarely it is confined to the face involving only eyebrows and eyelashes, but affects predominantly the scalp, leading to severe progressive cicatricial alopecia. Both conditions tend to progress until puberty.
The authors present a case of an otherwise healthy 19-year-old male patient, with absence of lateral eyebrows since childhood, which spread symmetrically and medially, until puberty affecting the entire eyebrows, whereas the eyelashes were completely spared. On examination, skin findings on the face, trunk and extremities pointed to ulerythema ophryogenes: apart from hair loss, the lateral eyebrows were highly erythematous; a great number of disseminated follicular, slightly keratotic papules (keratosis pilaris) pin- or match-head sized, were seen on the trunk, extensor surface of the arms and legs, as well as the buttock, and on palpation the skin felt like a “nutmeg grater”. However, follicle-based erythematous papules (focal patchy alopecia) were found not only along the eyebrows but also partly in the parietal capillitium forming focal patchy alopecia, which is a finding characteristic for keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans; the histopathological analysis of the biopsy specimens taken from the parietal capillitium has confirmed the clinical diagnosis.
Cytogenetic analysis showed no karyotypic abnormalities. Family history showed that the patient’s mother and maternal grandfather also suffered from hair loss especially of the lateral eyebrows.
This paper presents an overlap between two rare follicular genokeratoses in a young male with a positive family history, who presented with ulerythema ophryogenes involving not only the eyebrows, but also the scalp, in the form of parietal, focal cicatricial patchy alopecia.
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