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Acropustulosis of infancy
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Acropustulosis of infancy

Contributors: Antara Afrin BS, Susan Burgin MD, Nnenna Agim MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Acropustulosis of infancy, also known as infantile acropustulosis, is a recurrent, self-limited, pruritic, palmoplantar vesiculopustular eruption that usually begins between birth and age 2. Additional reported sites include dorsal hands and feet, wrists, and occasionally, the scalp.

The etiology is not fully elucidated; however, it is thought by some authors to represent a post-scabetic phenomenon.

Acropustulosis of infancy may wax and wane for years with pruritic lesions recurring initially every few weeks, then every few months, with the duration and intensity of episodes diminishing over time, ultimately resolving completely.


L40.3 – Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris

239098009 – Infantile acropustulosis

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

A history of recurrent crops of pustules on the hands and feet is highly suggestive of acropustulosis of infancy; in the absence of a characteristic history, other diagnoses should be considered.
  • Scabies infection in infants may present identically to acropustulosis and is thought by many authors to precipitate the condition. Often, burrows will be obscured by vesiculation. Careful examination of the entire infant for a typical burrow, papules, or nodules on the torso is necessary. Family members should also be questioned and examined for (nocturnal) pruritus and burrows.
  • Impetigo – Vesicles, bullae, pustules, and erosions with honey-colored crust. Usually asymmetric and not acral. Impetiginization of acropustulosis may occur secondary to scratching.
  • Eosinophilic folliculitis occurs mainly on the scalp rather than the hands and feet but may cycle concurrently with acropustulosis.
  • Congenital candidiasis, erythema toxicum neonatorum, and transient neonatal pustular melanosis are less pruritic and usually more widespread than acropustulosis.
  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease usually affects children older than 1 year and is associated with constitutional symptoms and oral lesions. The palmoplantar vesicles are nonpruritic, more oval, and oriented along dermatoglyphs.
  • Arthropod assault by Solenopsis spp (fire ants) presents distinctly with acral pustules similar to acropustulosis; however, tenderness and a relevant history of exposure help tease this out.
  • The pustules of pustular psoriasis and pustular tinea pedis are less well-defined and often coalescent, as opposed to the well-defined, 2- to 4-mm pustules of acropustulosis.

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Last Reviewed:01/10/2023
Last Updated:02/06/2023
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Acropustulosis of infancy
A medical illustration showing key findings of Acropustulosis of infancy
Clinical image of Acropustulosis of infancy - imageId=112054. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Scant thin crusts and light brown macules on the palm.'
Scant thin crusts and light brown macules on the palm.
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