Jessner lymphocytic infiltrate of the skin is an uncommon disorder that is characterized by benign accumulations of lymph cells in the skin. These small lesions are solid, pink or red in color, and appear on the face, neck, and/or back. Skin surrounding these lesions may be itchy and turn red. The lesions may remain unchanged for several years and then spontaneously disappear, leaving no scars.
Not much is known about this disorder. In fact, there is some difference of opinion as to whether it is distinguishable as a separate condition or represents a stage of some other disorder. Some scientists believe that Jessner lymphocytic infiltrate may be a type of lupus erythematosus tumidus (LET) or discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE).
Symptoms of Jessner lymphocytic infiltrate of the skin include rosy-red, pimple-like eruptions, most commonly on the upper face, cheeks and neck. These lesions are non-scaly in nature and may last for several months. They often expand from the perimeter to form well-defined, smooth, red plaques that vary in diameter up to about one inch.
Occasionally, clear centers will form on the plaques. The skin surrounding the lesions may be reddened and itching. Sensitivity to sunlight may occur but is unusual. Generally, the symptoms disappear after several years but it is possible that they may reappear later. Sometimes, they go through times of getting worse and then getting better again over a period of months or years. Sometimes, they simply go away for no apparent reason.
The exact cause of Jessner lymphocytic infiltrate is not known. Abnormal numbers of lymph cells accumulate in the skin for no clear reason. It is not even clear that this is a disorder distinct from other benign infiltrates of the skin.
Clinical researchers have proposed that Jessner lymphocytic infiltrate may be any one of the following: a distinct entity or disorder in all cases, a distinct entity in some cases but lupus erythematosus (DLE) in others, either DLE or LET (a sub-type of DLE) in all cases, or an initial stage (or an intermediate stage) in the development of some other disorder.
The incidence or prevalence of Jessner lymphocytic infiltrate of the skin in the United States or Europe is not known. The disorder appears to affect adults before their fifth decade, i.e. younger than 50 years of age. Rarely, it affects children. Although there have been some cases in which it appeared that more than one sibling or family member was affected, no genetic component has been isolated.
A skin biopsy, using skin from a recently formed lesion, begins the process of excluding other possible conditions. Further relatively sophisticated tests on the biopsy materials are then undertaken to focus on a final diagnosis.
A period of watchful waiting is recommended to see if the disorder will clear up spontaneously. Treatment includes the use of cosmetics, protection from sunlight, cutting out small lesions surgically, topical medium-potency steroids and other steroids, freezing lesions (cryotherapy), and oral hydroxychloroquine. The use of steroids, topical or systemic, must be monitored carefully, as must the use of hydroxychloroquine.
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Zeina B. Jessner Lymphocytic Infiltration of the Skin. emedicine. Last Updated: February 11, 2004. 11pp.