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Senner, Sonja; Eicher, Laurie; Nasifoglu, Suzan; Wollenberg, Andreas (April 2020): Linear patterns of the skin and their dermatoses. In: JDDG, Vol. 18, No. 4: pp. 341-364
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 3MB


Knowledge about the linear patterns of the skin is a key competence of dermatologists. Four major groups of linear patterns can be distinguished: Langer lines, dermatomes, Blaschko lines and exogenous patterns. Langer lines run in the direction of the underlying collagen fibers (least skin tension) and play an important diagnostic role for some exanthematous skin diseases. In the thoracodorsal region, the distribution of the Langer lines gives rise to what is referred to as a ’Christmas tree pattern’. A dermatome is an area of skin that is supplied by a single spinal nerve. Disorders with a neuronal origin follow this pattern of distribution. The lines of Blaschko delineate the lines of migration of epidermal cells during embryogenesis. Exogenous linear patterns are caused by external factors. The present CME article will highlight important skin disorders that primarily present in the form of one of the aforementioned patterns. In addition, we will also address skin conditions that may secondarily follow with these patterns (or distinctly not do so) as the result of various mechanisms such as the Koebner phenomenon, reverse Koebner phenomenon, and Wolf’s isotopic response.