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WHAT IS FOX-FORDYCE DISEASE?

Fox-Fordyce disease is a rare skin disorder that occurs mainly in women between the ages of 13 and 35 years. However, it sometimes affects males and children.

The condition is characterised by the development of itchy bumps around the hair follicles of the underarm area, pubic region, and around the nipples. It results from inflammation of the apocrine sweat glands, which are found only in these areas.

The cause of Fox-Fordyce disease is unknown.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

                                       

Fox-Fordyce disease may result in very intense itch that disturbs sleep, but in some cases does not result in any symptoms. The condition frequently occurs under conditions of heat, humidity, friction and stress. Common features include:

  • Dome-shaped flesh-coloured to small reddish papules affecting almost every hair follicle in the area
  • Darkened, thickened and dry skin as a consequence of scratching (lichenification)
  • Reduced or absent sweating in the affected area.

TREATMENT

There is no cure for Fox-Fordyce disease. Medical treatments that have been used with varying degrees of success include:

  • Topical retinoids
  • Topical steroids
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Clindamycin solution
  • Antiandrogenic hormonal therapy

Other forms of treatment used are ultraviolet radiation (phototherapy), dermabrasion, liposuction and surgical excision.

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