Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Pruritic Papular Eruption Anatomy

To better understand pruritic papular eruption, it helps to understand the anatomy of the skin.

The skin contains three main layers:

  • Epidermis:
    • The superficial layer that makes up the surface of the skin
    • It is composed of skin cells and can be divided into 5 layers based on cell type.
    • The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is made of dead, flat skin cells that shed about every 2 weeks.
    • The thickness of the epidermis varies, according to location: it is very thick over the soles of the feet, and very thin over the ears.
  • Dermis:
    • Lies beneath the epidermis
    • Also varies in thickness depending on the location of the skin. It is .3 mm on the eyelid and 3.0 mm on the back.
    • The dermis is composed of 2 layers that contain a connective tissue called collagen
    • The dermis contains blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, and hair follicles.
    • The number of structures in the dermis varies, according to location.
    • The dermis under the arms contains more sweat glands and hair follicles than the dermis on the back.
  • Subcutaneous layer:
    • Mainly fat and connective tissue.
    • Contains blood vessels and nerves.

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Pruritic Papular Eruption References
  1. Berman B, Flores F, Burke G 3rd. Efficacy of pentoxifylline in the treatment of pruritic papular eruption of HIV-infected persons. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 Jun;38(6 Pt 1):955-9. [9632004]
  2. Hevia O, Jimenez-Acosta F, Ceballos PI, Gould EW, Penneys NS. Pruritic papular eruption of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: a clinicopathologic study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991 Feb;24(2 Pt 1):231-5. [2007668]
  3. Ishii N, Nishiyama T, Sugita Y, Nakajima H, Aoki I. Pruritic papular eruption of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Acta Derm Venereol. 1994 May;74(3):219-20. [7915469]
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