Exfoliative dermatitis

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Exfoliative dermatitis is widespread scaling of the skin, often with itching (pruritus), skin redness (erythroderma), and hair loss.

Alternative Names

Erythroderma; Dermatitis exfoliativa


This condition may occur in severe cases of many common skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. It is sometimes caused by an allergy to drugs.


A person with severe erythroderma or exfoliative dermatitis often needs hospital care or admission to an intensive-care burn unit.


Habif TP. Exanthems and drug eruptions. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 14.

Usatine RP, Krejci-Manwaring J. Dermatology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 33.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 2/25/2014
  • Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, Dermatologist in Private Practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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