Epidermolysis bullosa (ep-ih-dur-MOL-uh-sis buhl-LOE-sah) is a group of rare diseases that cause fragile, blistering skin. The blisters may appear in response to minor injury, even from heat, rubbing, scratching or adhesive tape. In severe cases, the blisters may occur inside the body, such as the lining of the mouth or the stomach.
Most types of epidermolysis bullosa are inherited. The condition usually shows up in infancy or early childhood. Some people don’t develop signs and symptoms until adolescence or early adulthood.
Epidermolysis bullosa has no cure, though mild forms may improve with age. Treatment focuses on caring for blisters and preventing new ones.
Epidermolysis bullosa signs and symptoms vary depending on type. They include:
- Fragile skin that blisters easily, especially on the hands and feet
- Nails that are thick or don’t form
- Blisters inside the mouth and throat
- Thickened skin on the palms and soles of the feet
- Scalp blistering, scarring and hair loss (scarring alopecia)
- Thin-appearing skin (atrophic scarring)
- Tiny white skin bumps or pimples (milia)
- Dental problems, such as tooth decay from poorly formed enamel
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Itchy, painful skin