Follicular Mucinosis

Mucinosis follicularis is a skin disease in which the hair follicles harden. Mucinosis follicularis is also known by the synonyms pinkus alopecia or alopecia mucinosa. The hair follicles can be felt with the fingers. Colloquially, mucinosis follicularis is also known as keratosis pilaris.

Follicular Mucinosis

What is mucinosis follicularis?

Mucinosis follicularis is also referred to by some physicians as so-called scorbutic goosebumps. The disease is either symptomatic or idiopathic in nature. Mucinosis follicularis is characterized by accumulations of mucin inside the sebaceous glands of the skin. The deposits occur in the intraepithelial area and in the majority of cases also affect the walls of the hair follicles. See fun-wiki for What is Meniscus Tear used for.

In the further course of mucinosis follicularis, the affected persons suffer from alopecia, which is accompanied by scarring of the diseased areas of the skin. Within Europe, keratosis pilaris occurs comparatively often. The first to describe mucinosis follicularis was Kreibich, who scientifically described the disease in 1904.


Not everything is known about the exact background to the development of mucinosis follicularis. However, numerous researchers and doctors suspect that the genesis of the disease is related to damage to the cells. As a result of this damage, certain mucoid substances develop in the system of the sebaceous glands and in the sheaths of the hair roots.

These substances are then deposited. In the context of histological analyzes of hair follicles, there are corresponding anomalies that indicate degeneration.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Doctors basically differentiate between two different types of mucinosis follicularis: The first form is an acute form of the disease. In this case, the mucinosis follicularis occurs acutely in the subcutaneous area and is benign. The typical foci filled with doughy substances appear on the skin of the affected patients. In addition, the areas show an alopecia.

The second type of mucinosis follicularis is a manifestation with a chronic course. This is also a benign disease. The foci are usually keratotic and vary in shape. In the majority of cases, the papules of this form of mucinosis follicularis appear on the limbs of the affected person. The trunk may also be affected by the disease.

In addition, mucinosis follicularis sometimes occurs in connection with malignant lymphomas. There is also a chronic course of mucinosis follicularis. Here the symptoms are more similar to those of a special mycosis fungoides, which primarily affects the follicles of the hair. In principle, mucinosis follicularis is a so-called paraneoplasia.

Mucinosis follicularis is basically characterized by often itchy foci. In the diseased areas, the existing hair is lost. In addition, typical papules with a clear demarcation from the surrounding skin can be seen in numerous cases. The foci are slightly raised and usually show a more or less intense reddening. The disease manifests itself in the majority of cases on the cranial side of the body.

Diagnosis & course of disease

A large number of people observe symptoms of keratosis pilaris or mucinosis follicularis in themselves and at best consult a dermatologist with the corresponding symptoms. The diagnosis of mucinosis follicularis uses various techniques. In the course of diagnosing mucinosis follicularis, various histopathological laboratory analyzes are usually used.

In the majority of cases, this shows a degeneration of cells. Such changes primarily affect the outer sheaths of the hair roots and the sebaceous glands. At the foci there are intermediate cystic areas containing mucin. The type of deposits may indicate the underlying disease of mucinosis follicularis.

The attending physician has to consider various diseases in the differential diagnosis. For example, he must rule out tinea barbae, tinea capitis and lichen ruber planus. In addition, mucinosis follicularis must be differentiated from lichen simplex chronicus, alopecia areata, and seborrheic eczema.


Due to mucinosis follicularis, those affected primarily suffer from various skin complaints. These can significantly limit and reduce the quality of life. Likewise, the everyday life of those affected is made significantly more difficult and it is not uncommon for psychological complaints or even depression to occur.

Sometimes the itching can also negatively affect the patient’s sleep, resulting in sleep disorders and thus irritability in the patient. It is not uncommon for those affected to feel ashamed of the skin complaints and thus also suffer from inferiority complexes or reduced self-esteem.

The symptoms can be very uncomfortable, especially on the extremities, so that most patients are ashamed of them. As a rule, mucinosis follicularis can be cured with the help of medication. Radiation therapy is also often used to speed healing.

Complications usually do not arise. However, the underlying disease that is responsible for the mucinosis follicularis must also be treated. It is not possible to predict a general course of the disease. However, the life expectancy of the patient is usually not affected by mucinosis follicularis.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the affected person notices sudden changes in the complexion, these should be presented to a doctor. If the symptoms spread or increase in intensity, a doctor’s visit is urgently recommended to prevent further illnesses. Hardening, discolouration or skin imperfections must be examined and treated. By examining the skin, a diagnosis is possible, which also provides information about the further course of the disease. Since there are diseases with a fatal course, a doctor’s visit should be made as early as possible when the first peculiarities of the skin appear. In addition, an annual check-up with a doctor is recommended.

This is used for the early detection of possible skin diseases and is particularly recommended for people of adulthood or people with sensitive skin. The emergence of poplars is considered unusual and needs to be investigated. If swelling, itching or open wounds occur, a doctor’s visit is advisable.

Sterile wound care is necessary so that no germs get into the organism or blood poisoning is triggered. Pain on the skin, sensitivity to light, temperature, or touch, and sensory disturbances must be presented to a doctor. Deafness or hypersensitivity is a disorder that requires medical attention. If there are also emotional complaints, anxiety or behavioral problems, a doctor should also be consulted.

Treatment & Therapy

The current treatment options for mucinosis follicularis are limited. In the majority of cases, there are hardly any clear successes in the therapy of mucinosis follicularis. Glucocorticoids or Dapsone are possible. In addition, some patients with mucinosis follicularis receive a so-called soft X- ray therapy.

When treating the symptoms of mucinosis follicularis, the underlying disease must always be considered and treated. The prognosis of mucinosis follicularis is very different. In some cases, the lesions on the skin regress spontaneously. In other patients, the symptoms extend to the entire surface of the skin.

However, the course of mucinosis follicularis is essentially related to the individual causes of the respective type of disease. In the acute and idiopathic type of mucinosis follicularis, healing occurs after several weeks or months. In chronic mucinosis follicularis, the symptoms of the disease hardly ever regress.

Outlook & Forecast

In the case of mucinosis follicularis, patients mainly suffer from various skin complaints. These skin complaints can particularly restrict and even reduce the quality of life. The everyday life of the patients is also made very difficult by the disease. In addition, it is not uncommon for mental disorders and even severe depression to occur . Among other things, the constant itching can also negatively affect the sleep of those affected, so that the patients have severe sleep disorders that lead to irritability in the patients.

In many cases, the patients are ashamed of their skin complaints and therefore often suffer from reduced self-esteem and even inferiority complexes. Especially on the extremities, the symptoms are extremely unpleasant and often visible to other people, which is why most sufferers are ashamed of them.

As a rule, the disease mucinosis follicularis can be improved and cured with the help of medication. Radiation therapy is often used to speed up healing. Serious complications from the disease are usually rare. However, the underlying disease that triggers mucinosis follicularis disease must also be treated. This is another reason why it is not possible to predict general forecasts and developments. The life expectancy of those affected is usually not affected by the disease mucinosis follicularis.


There are still no proven, effective ways to prevent mucinosis follicularis.


In most cases, those affected with mucinosis follicularis have only limited or very few direct follow-up measures available. For this reason, the affected person should consult a doctor at an early stage in order to prevent the occurrence of other complications and symptoms.

It cannot heal on its own, so a doctor should be consulted at the first signs and symptoms of the disease. Most of those affected are usually dependent on taking various medications to alleviate or limit the symptoms. Care should always be taken to ensure that it is taken regularly and that the dosage is correct.

If there are any uncertainties or questions, a doctor must always be consulted first. The doctor should also be contacted if there are changes or complaints on the skin. As a rule, no further or special follow-up measures are necessary in the case of mucinosis follicularis. In most cases, the life expectancy of the affected person is not reduced. In some cases, contact with other patients with the disease can also be useful, as this leads to an exchange of information.

You can do that yourself

Follicular mucinosis can be relieved with a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet and sufficient sunlight reduce any inflammatory reactions and improve overall well-being. The calluses themselves can be treated with peelings and medical preparations. Agents with aloe vera and other pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances are suitable.

If these measures are ineffective, the doctor should be consulted. A prescription product may be needed to reduce the skin changes. In general, strict personal hygiene and regularly changing bed linen, towels, etc. helps. In addition, the skin should not be scratched, as this can lead to infections and scarring.

If these measures also have no effect, you must go to the doctor again. Mucinosis follicularis can also be relieved by a number of alternative naturopathic remedies. Devil’s claw or sage, for example, have proven effective, as have lemon balm and ginseng, which can be drunk in the form of tea or applied to the cornifications as a moist compress. In order to avoid injuries, the removal of the cornea should be done by a doctor.