What are the aims of this leaflet?
This leaflet has been written to help you understand more about Grover disease. It explains what it is, what causes it, what can be done about it, and where you can find more information about it.
What is Grover disease?
Grover disease, also known as transient acantholytic dermatosis, is an itchy rash. It typically causes the appearance of small, spots/bumps occurring on the central back, chest, and arms; this commonly affects white men over 50 years of age. It is less common in darker skin, women, and younger adults.
What causes Grover disease?
The exact cause of Grover disease is unknown; however, several triggers have been linked with this condition. These include heat and sweating, exposure to sunlight, kidney failure, prolonged bed rest, organ transplantation, and certain medications. In addition, sometimes, skin cancers, blood cancers (haematologic malignancies), and solid tumours (internal organs) are associated with Grover disease.
Is Grover disease hereditary?
No, it is not hereditary.
What are the symptoms of Grover disease?
Some patients may have intensely itchy, small, round, or oval darker spots/bumps or small blisters that are mainly located on the chest, upper arm and back; However, not everyone may experience intense itching.
What does Grover disease look like?
Grover disease commonly appears as tiny, slightly ﬂesh-coloured, or darker spots/bumps (papules) and blisters (vesicles) surrounding hair follicles. The rash appears in groups, usually on the chest, back, arms and legs, with a swollen, darker ring around them.
How is Grover disease diagnosed?
Grover disease is usually diagnosed by examining the affected skin. However, when Grover disease looks similar to other skin disorders, a skin sample (known as a biopsy) is taken and examined under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
Can Grover disease be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no curative treatment for Grover disease. The disease is generally harmless. It may go away without treatment after weeks or months.
It may be worse at certain times of the year and may continue for many years.
How can Grover’s disease be treated?
Treatment is aimed at controlling any itching or other symptoms. For mild symptoms, treatment may include creams or ointments containing steroids, prescribed vitamin D or menthol cream (to cool and soothe the skin), and antihistamine tablets. For severe or persistent symptoms, treatments could include phototherapy or tablets such as systemic (oral) retinoids (isotretinoin or acitretin) or corticosteroids. These tablet treatments can have serious side effects and are not usually necessary for mild cases.
Self-care (What can I do?)
It is advised to remain cool, remove and avoid possible triggers (i.e. excessive sweat, high temperature, prolonged bed rest, dry skin, excessive sun exposure, strenuous exercise, medications, and skin irritants) that may lead to the development of more itchy spots.
Where can I get more information about Grover disease?
Web links to detailed leaflets
Please note that the BAD provides web links to additional resources to help people access a range of information about their treatment or skin condition. The views expressed in these external resources may not be shared by the BAD or its members. The BAD has no control of and does not endorse the content of external links.
This leaflet aims to provide accurate information about the subject and is a consensus of the views held by representatives of the British Association of Dermatologists: individual patient circumstances may differ, which might alter both the advice and course of therapy given to you by your doctor.
This leaflet has been assessed for readability by the British Association of Dermatologists’ Patient Information Lay Review Panel
BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF DERMATOLOGISTS PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET
PRODUCED JUNE 2022
REVIEW DATE JUNE 2025