What is erythema dyschromicum perstans (EDP)?

Updated: Apr 19, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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C. Oswaldo Ramirez of San Salvador, El Salvador, first described erythema dyschromicum perstans (EDP) in 1957. [1] He called the patients with this eruption Los cenicientos, meaning the ashen ones. The Spanish term cenicienta also means Cinderella because of this folklore character's close association with ashes from sitting at home alone by the fireplace. Later, erythema dyschromicum perstans was called dermatosis ceniciento, meaning ashy dermatosis, because of its ashy bluish gray color. The term erythema dyschromicum perstans is credited to Marion B. Sulzberger, who suggested it when examining Convit's [2] patients in Caracas. Sulzberger's comment, in discussion of another paper, is as follows:

... the narrow red border (which is often hard to find), represents the active lesions. This is why I suggested a name which contains the term "erythema" and which also suggests the variety and persistence of the final dyschromias.

The descriptive term ashy dermatosis was also used as a designation for their coloration. In South America, another name, erythema chronicum figuratum melanodermicum, is also used.

Erythema dyschromicum perstans (ashy dermatosis) is a distinct and somewhat controversial cutaneous eruption that may be best regarded as a form of lichen planus or lichen planus actinicus. [3, 4, 5]  A consensus on terminology has been delineated. [6] Some favor a new entity, identified as acquired macular pigmentation of unknown etiology, under which the rubric erythema dyschromicum perstans, ashy dermatosis, lichen planus pigmentosus, and idiopathic eruptive macular pigmentation would fit. [7]

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