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Erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp is a condition in which tiny pustules form on the scalp, forehead or temples of the elderly. A similar condition may arise on the legs. Erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp affects severely sun damaged skin usually in areas of scarring such as after injury, skin cancer surgery or shingles.

The pustules evolve into yellow brown crusts. If these are removed, the skin underneath is red and moist. Extensive disease can itself result in scarring and extensive balding. The pustules are often colonised by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (impetigo).


The cause of erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp is unknown. However, it appears to relate to sun damage and is possibly triggered by a minor injury to the affected skin (including a surgical procedure). Infection is not thought to be the primary cause, as the lesions do not clear with antibiotics alone.

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