The Skin Condition You've Probably Never Heard Of, But Glad That You Have Now!
In this article, we’re diving into a skin condition that has been quietly lurking in the background. It's not as famous as acne or eczema, but it's just as important to discuss. Enter the world of granular parakeratosis.
Now, whilst the name sounds like a rare dinosaur species, granular parakeratosis is an uncommon skin condition that mainly affects body folds, most often the armpits.
What's in the Name?
So, what exactly is this condition? In layman's terms, granular parakeratosis presents as a skin-coloured, red or brown patchy scaly rash in body folds like the armpits, and sometimes it's itchy.
The condition was first described in 1991, and while it's benign, it has been linked to the excessive use of topical preparations, particularly antiperspirants and deodorants, as well as exposure to chemical irritants found in antiseptics and household cleaning agents. The most common of these is Benzalkonimum chloride.
Who Does It Affect?
While granular parakeratosis is often reported in middle-aged women, it doesn't discriminate and has been reported to affect babies, children, and men of all races. So yes, nobody gets a free pass here!
Diagnosis and Treatment
Granular parakeratosis is diagnosed by its classical appearance and sometimes confirmed by a skin biopsy. And the good news? It may resolve by itself. If it's due to a specific contact factor, it usually settles down within a few weeks of recognising and avoiding it. Treatments that have been reported to be useful include moisturisers, topical steroids and antibiotics.
The Mysterious Cause
Granular parakeratosis is thought to be provoked by friction, occlusion, and sweating with some key irritants playing a key role. Some cosmetic or laundry products, especially those containing the antiseptic, benzalkonium chloride, is responsible for an increasing number of cases. Benzalkonium chloride is a disinfectant found in many antiseptic laundry rinses, hygiene products, bath oils, sanitising wipes and hand santisers. It’s thought that Benzalkonium chloride can remain on the seams of clothing and even the washing machine for quite some time causing rashes to occur again and again despite stopping use of products containing it.
The Bottom Line
While granular parakeratosis remains a bit of a medical mystery, it's essential to remember that new cases and causes continue to be reported, and the condition is likely underdiagnosed.
So, there you have it - a sneak peek into the world of granular parakeratosis. It's not the most glamorous topic, but knowledge is power, and understanding lesser-known skin conditions helps us all take better care of our skin. Remember, if you notice any unusual changes to your skin, it's always best to consult with your GP or dermatologist. Your skin is your largest organ, after all, so let's show it some love!
Purpose of this information
The information presented on this website and in this article is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose. Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.