Hailey-Hailey disease is a rare hereditary blistering skin disease first described by the Hailey brothers in 1939. It is sometimes called ‘familial benign chronic pemphigus’

Hailey-Hailey disease usually appears in the third or fourth decade, although it can occur at any age. It typically begins as a painful erosive skin rash in the skin folds. Common sites include the armpits, groins, and neck, under the breasts and between the buttocks. The lesions tend to come and go and leave no scars. As the lesions get bigger the centre clears leaving a typical ring shape. If the lesions are present for some time they may become thickened. The skin then tends to macerate leaving quite painful cracks. Secondary bacterial infection, which is not uncommon, can give rise to an unpleasant smell. White bands on the fingernails and pits in the palms can also occur.

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