Other Names for this Disease
- Dowling-Degos Kitamura disease
- Familial progressive hyperpigmentation
- Kitamura reticulate acropigmentation
- Melanosis diffusa congenita
- Melanosis universalis hereditaria
What are the symptoms of Dowling-Degos disease?
Dowling-Degos disease is characterized by a lacy or net-like (reticulate) pattern of abnormally dark skin coloring (hyperpigmentation), particularly in the body's folds and creases. These skin changes typically first appear in the armpits and groin area and can later spread to other skin folds such as the crook of the elbow and back of the knee. Less commonly, pigmentation changes can also occur on the wrist, back of the hand, face, scalp, scrotum (in males), and vulva (in females). These areas of hyperpigmentation are not affected by exposure to sunlight.
Individuals with Dowling-Degos disease may also have dark lesions on the face and back that resemble blackheads, red bumps around the mouth that resemble acne, or depressed or pitted scars on the face similar to acne scars but with no history of acne. Cysts within the hair follicle (pilar cysts) may develop, most commonly on the scalp. Rarely, affected individuals have patches of skin that are unusually light in color (hypopigmented).
The pigmentation changes characteristic of Dowling-Degos disease typically begin in late childhood or in adolescence, although in some individuals, features of the condition do not appear until adulthood. New areas of hyperpigmentation tend to develop over time, and the other skin lesions tend to increase in number as well. While the skin changes caused by Dowling-Degos disease can be bothersome, they typically cause no health problems.
- Dowling-Degos disease. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). November 2012; http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/dowling-degos-disease. Accessed 2/4/2013.