Importance Erosive pustular dermatosis (EPD) is a rare condition that typically affects actinically damaged skin of the scalp. Characterized by sterile pustules, erosions, and crusts, EPD is difficult to treat and heals slowly. The exact cause of EPD is unknown, although trauma is an inciting factor.
Objective To describe 3 women who presented with prolonged facial erosions after cosmetic resurfacing procedures, specifically fully ablative carbon dioxide laser or medium-depth chemical peel.
Design, Setting, and Participants This case series describes the clinical features, histopathological findings, laboratory results, and treatment of 3 patients with an ultimate diagnosis most consistent with facial EPD. Patients were evaluated between September 10, 2010, and May 6, 2016, in a dermatology clinic in an academic medical center. The patients were 3 women seeking diagnostic evaluation and therapeutic options for nonhealing facial erosions occurring after ablative procedures (carbon dioxide laser resurfacing or Jessner solution/trichloroacetic acid chemical peel).
Main Outcomes and Measures Histologic examination and wound culture from initial presentation as well as clinical follow-up documenting improvement with therapeutic interventions.
Results All 3 patients were women in their 50s or 60s for whom EPD was deemed to be the best diagnosis, after infection, immunobullous disorders, and other pustular dermatoses were considered. Histologic features were nonspecific. Treatment included a combination of topical and systemic therapies, such as corticosteroids, dapsone, isotretinoin, and/or antibiotics. Watchful waiting (tincture of time) appeared to be central to the healing process.
Conclusions and Relevance After cosmetic resurfacing, patients may develop EPD isolated to the face. As a diagnosis of exclusion that should be considered in patients who have nonhealing wounds following ablative procedures, EPD is challenging to treat and may require the use of anti-inflammatory agents. Recognizing this condition is important, especially as cosmetic procedures become more widespread.