Erythema ab igne (EAI)

Erythema ab igne (EAI)

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The Erythema from igne (EAI) is a thermally induced, reddish-brown, reticulated rash, which usually occurs after prolonged exposure to heat below the burning limit of our skin.

From 45 ° C, proteins are denatured in the human organism, which can lead to functional and structural damage. The main triggers are heat sources such as

  • Hot water bottles,
  • Heating pad,
  • Electric blankets,
  • Seat heaters in cars,
  • Laptops on your lap.

Often due to sitting on hot stoves and fireplaces, the rash is preferred on the shins. But also hot water bottles and heating pads can lead to an EAI with extensive use, which usually occurs on the abdomen, back, buttocks or feet and is sometimes accompanied by a slight burning or pulling. Anyone who works as a cook or baker may know it more as an occupational disease on the arms and face.

If the heat stimuli fade, the EAI can also disappear again. With prolonged exposure to heat, however, the pigmentation of the skin can intensify and manifest. If the effects are persistent, the skin can become atrophic and very rarely keratoses (precursors), Merkel cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma can occur.

In addition to its own problem as a possible starting point for a tumor, the EAI should also be able to point out internal diseases, including tumors, diagnostically. (tf)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Christina M. RudolphH. Peter SoyerPeter WolfHelmut Kerl: Squamous cell carcinoma in erythema ab igne, The dermatologist, Springer Link April 2000,
  • Dr. Matthias Prinz, Dr. Florian Edsperger: Erythema ab igne, Bavarian Medical Gazette (BAB) 2016,
  • Stephen Tan, Vince Bertucci: Erythema ab igne: an old condition new again, CMAJ Jan. 2011,
  • Thomas Jansen: Reticular Skin Drawing - Too Much Fire Under the Butt, MMW - Advances in Medicine, 2018, Volume 160, Issue 4,

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