Fact Checked

What is Grover's Disease?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Grover's disease is a skin condition that is characterized by itchy red lumps that appear primarily on the torso of the patient. Although the condition is not serious, it can be irritating, and it can lead to other more serious skin problems if left untreated. The precise cause of this disease is not fully understood, making treatment difficult for some patients. Any person who notices a prolonged skin rash or outbreak should see a dermatologist who can examine it and determine the best course of treatment.

This disease occurs most commonly in older men, typically those over the age of 40 or 50. It appears to be triggered by exposure to heat, and it may accompany an incident of heat stress. The affected skin forms small papules or bubbles, which may look almost like blisters. In many cases, Grover's disease is accompanied with severe itching, which is what sends most people to a healthcare professional. In addition to appearing on the torso, Grover's also pops up on the back and legs.

In the skin condition Grover's disease, itchy red bumps appear, usually on the torso.
In the skin condition Grover's disease, itchy red bumps appear, usually on the torso.

Medical professionals may also refer to this condition as Transient Acantholytic Dermatosis, or TAD. The “transient” is a reference to the fact that the disease can linger for between six and 12 months, and it may appear or disappear without any warning. Under a microscope, a scraping of the skin will look very distinctive, with cell separation and sometimes abnormal cell shapes as well. When the condition persists, it can lead to skin infections and dermatitis as a result of irritation, which is why many healthcare providers will prescribe treatments for it, rather than letting it take its course.

Grover's disease occurs most often in men older than 40 or 50.
Grover's disease occurs most often in men older than 40 or 50.

Many medical professionals recommend that patients with Grover's disease keep cool and wear loose fitting clothing made from natural fibers to reduce irritation. Skin creams and moisturizers may be prescribed, along with cortisone cream or steroids, in some cases. Since the itchy red spots can be extremely irritating, patients may wear shirts to bed to reduce the possibility of scratching, and in severe cases, a medical professional may prescribe a medication to reduce the itching sensation.

Microscopes are used to diagnose Grover's disease.
Microscopes are used to diagnose Grover's disease.

A change in the appearance of the skin should not necessarily be alarming, but people should keep an eye on things like rashes, lumps, and moles. If a skin outbreak doesn't clear up within a week or if it seems to be progress rapidly, an individual make an appointment with a healthcare professional to make sure that the condition is not serious. Since a range of conditions can look identical to the naked eye, the use of diagnostic tools like microscopes is essential to make sure that patients get the right treatment.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I am a 66-year-old female and was diagnosed with Grovers about five months ago. The itching became very intense and all of the topical steroid creams my dermatologist prescribed burned my skin so I could not use them. After much research online, here’s what I found that finally worked for me.

For the intense itching I use zinc oxide, which can be found in many children’s sunscreens.

The one I use is about 20% zinc oxide and it really helps calm down the itch, and

occasionally I used Sarna anti-itch cream as well.

But what I really want to share with everyone is that I read about eating half a bunch of cilantro a day in a smoothie or in a salad can cure the disease, so for the last month I have made myself a smoothie with a half a bunch of cilantro, a little bit of water, some lime juice cucumber and avocado and after a month I am 98% free of all of the bumps. This natural remedy worked for me!

I’m actually going to go to my dermatologist this Friday and inform her of this natural remedy- so much safer than steroids and Accutane and other medicines.

I hope this helps some people.


I am a 53 year old white female. I have had Grovers's for about 5 years. I used to blame it on wine but now I no longer drink alcohol so I guess that's not it. It comes out like hives, very unpredictable. I've tried creams but they really don't do much. I eat plant base so next is to try gluten free. I can't eliminate every thing but I need some relief. Thank you all for your post. Good luck to you all. I will keep you posted!


I have had Grovers for eight months now. I am a 67 year old female. I have tried all sorts of creams and have been on accutane 10 mg for 30 days. Not much improvement, I must say. Turmeric does help the itching but some days it is nearly unbearable. I have also heard the drug companies don't see any money in it because it is so rare, but most people who know anything about it say it lasts about 10 months. Aveeno makes the best products in my estimation for some relief


I am a 55 year old white female. I was diagnosed with Grover's Disease nine years ago. I have it on my legs and arms. I was scratching myself to bleeding at night before I went to a Dermatologist.

He gave me some creams which didn't do much and said it would go away and here I am, nine years later. As unconventional as it seems, plain bath salts help me so much when the itching gets to be too much. In the winter when my legs are covered with tighter pants, it's worse. Summer is much better, however I have to avoid sun exposure. My legs look so terrible. I am so ashamed to wear shorts, let alone dresses. I'm going to look into the gluten idea I've been seeing on here. I truly feel for you all.


I am a 32-year-old female who was diagnosed with Grover's disease about eight months ago. My doctor prescribed a strong cortisone cream and also recommended I try applying an over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin). Coincidentally, he had actually written a paper on this rare disease and had administered clinical trials using a triple antibiotic and had found success with this treatment on half of his patients. It didn't work for me, but thought I'd share in case it would help some others. So for the past eight months, I've been applying these ointments to no real avail.

Now onto what seems to finally be working!

I have completely changed my diet. I read about this condition called leaky gut which is apparently associated with many chronic skin conditions. Dr Oz and Dr Hyman both have articles on the web about this condition (you can research it to learn more).

I followed what I read on the web and have adopted a super strict anti-inflammatory diet that seems to be the only thing that's making my Grover's go away!

I eliminated all inflammatory foods from my diet: Refined sugar, dairy, all grains (wheat, rice, corn, etc.), nuts, eggs, soy, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), legumes (beans, string beans, white potatoes); vegetable oil, artificial sweeteners, everything processed.

Here is what I've been eating: Grass fed meats (steak, lamb, etc.), free range fowl (chicken, turkey, etc.), wild fish, organic vegetables (no tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), organic fresh fruits that are low in sugar (like apples, berries, etc.), healthy fats (lots of olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, butter).

And I've been taking these supplements daily: fish oil, Vitamin D, turmeric, L-Glutamine. I tried probiotics, but my Grover's did not seem to like them.

As a side effect of the diet, I have gotten leaner -- which is not a bad thing at all! I realize that this is extreme, but it truly seems to be the only thing that's working so I wanted to share it with my fellow Grover's sufferers. Hope this helps!


I am a 69 year-old woman who was diagnosed with GD almost two months ago. The original diagnosis was folliculitis. That diagnosis changed after a punch biopsy and a culture.

I have received two shots of cortisone in that time period with good results. However, I can only have three more in a year's time. I was also given fluocinolone .01 percent cream for the itch. When I first saw the dermotologist, I told her it seemed I was allergic to my own sweat. It seems I was right.

I live in Florida and work out six times a week. At the gym, I go in the rest room after my 20 minutes on the elliptical walker to get the sweat off my torso. If I walk at home, I go running to the shower afterwards. My belief is that my sweat contains something that I'm allergic to. What I intend to do is drink as much water as possible to dilute whatever the allergen is. I also note that this diagnosis came at a very stressful period in my life.


I'm a 61 year old male just diagnosed with Grovers. I've been on the Atkins diet for a month and it hasn't helped or hurt so with me; the gluten connection is not an issue. I haven't had any for four weeks. The itching wakes me up at night, but for now I'm on prednisone and a high powered cream for two weeks. Calamine lotion seems to help with the itch in the middle of the night.


If you itch, have your gallbladder checked. An ultrasound checks for blockages and a tracer scan can check the "ejection" of the bile. Bile can "back up" if it's not moving properly into the intestine and wind up on the skin, causing itching, sometimes with no rash. Blood and urine tests will also show this. Look into cholestasis in pregnant women.


I came down with Grover's Disease less than a year ago and it was so awful that I was beginning to feel suicidal over it because I had discovered from reading another blog that many people never get rid of it. It was like having poison oak all over my body all the time. That level of itching is no laughing matter, not to mention the embarrassing appearance of my skin.

Well, the blog I was reading had posts from two women who had healed their Grover's condition when they went gluten free. I immediately decided to try it, and lo and behold -- it gradually went away within a month. These two women were the only ones on that blog who had gotten rid of it.

Just a week and a half ago, however, I ate a whole bunch of licorice, which I love but had not had in a very long time. I had carelessly not read the label as it never occurred to me that something like licorice could have wheat or gluten in it. Well, to my dismay I came down with the itchy red bumps again. I didn't really make the connection right away until I read the licorice label and found out it has a lot of wheat.

Obviously, I haven't had any licorice since (for about a week) and even though I have red bumps again as well as some itching it doesn't seem even a third as bad as before and it seems to be improving a bit each day.

My theory about Grover's is that it can be caused by an allergy like gluten or maybe dairy or soy -- or whatever a particular individual might be allergic to – and when you sweat, the allergen, which is poisonous to the allergic person, comes out through the pores and causes an irritation. From what I understand, sweating is a major way the body uses to cleanse itself.

Now this theory of mine may be totally off the wall but it is my understanding that the pharmaceutical companies don't do any research on this condition because it's so rare and therefore there is no money in it for them so they don't really know anything much about it and therefore all they can do is prescribe creams and cortisone etc., which actually do not work, in my experience. They tell you to avoid heat and not to sweat but not sweating is very bad for you.

Some tips that helped me: When I had the disease full force, I used to bathe in Aveeno oatmeal soak at night before bed and also would use it in the morning to wash my body all over while showering. Then I would let it dry on on my skin before getting dressed. I also would sometimes make a paste of it during the night when things were very bad and put it on to help relieve the itching so I could get back to sleep.

Also for sleeping, I found the a combination of tryptophan and melatonin (I take a timed release 3 m tablet of melatonin and 3 tryptophan during the night if I wake up and can't get back to sleep.) A small amount of medical marijuana -- believe it or not -- gave me great relief. Fortunately, I live in an area where it is legal to use medicinally and it is very helpful for both pain and insomnia as long as I don't take too much.

Ice packs also worked pretty well but it's hard to keep them on all the various parts of the body that are itching from Grover's at the same time. A full body suit might work!

Another thing that helped was a very hot shower. It's supposed to be bad for Grover's, but gave me much relief. The very hot water on my skin felt really good like a good scratch without actually scratching or damaging my skin. After that I would have very little itching for a few hours, so it is another nighttime method I've used. According to my theory, heat is not a problem, but sweating is if you are releasing toxins caused by some substance you are consuming on a regular basis.

So anyway, that's my Grover's story and my theory. Perhaps going the allergy route may help some of you. I think that the reason I have some bumps right now from the licorice consumption, but the itching has been diminishing is possibly because I am again totally gluten free, having already sweated out the toxins.

I hope this helps you guys. I have great compassion for anyone who has this problem; it's a real drag and I would like to see every single one of you get rid of it. If you do you will be ecstatic. I myself am eternally grateful to a woman named Kim who recommended this cure to me. It feels like she saved my life.

Hugs, health and happiness to all and always read labels.


Can I blend flucinonide with aloe based cream?


I am a 71 male and about a year ago was diagnosed with Grover's and confirmed with a biopsy. I have bumps and itching all over my body but the most bothersome is the itching on my head. There are bumps and the itching is terrible. Does anyone have similar symptoms on the scalp and are there any suggestions for relief?


"Disease" is an abused term used for both issues with known causes and unknown. The cause of Grover's disease is unknown. It could be worth looking into Lyme Disease, as it may be the cause for many diseases with unknown causes, as it can cause a huge variety of symptoms.


I am a 52 year old kiwi woman. I am normally a healthy person, but I broke out with Grovers in winter. Antibiotics helped, but I stopped them because they were making me feel like throwing up. I am still on hydrocortisone cream, and that relieves the itching a bit, and just lately, it's come back in full force. I am totally over it! I want my normal life back! There has got to be a natural treatment for this.


@anon70875, Post 7: I would say no. I am 44 year old female. My personal experience has been: I was a tanning bed freak for years and finally had to stop altogether. Every time I get in a tanning bed the Grover's Disease flares up. I only got my diagnosis last year. Before that they thought it was just tinea versicolor. I have started avoiding the sun when I can. Still go swimming, etc, but just try to get out of the wet suit as soon as possible and wear lots of sunscreen, utilize any shade, etc. Hope this helps.


I am 60 years old and have had Grover's disease since I was 19. Sometimes my break-outs last a few weeks or months at a time. My break-outs are on the chest and upper and lower back and are most active when I sweat or I'm exposed to the sun or extreme heat. I have found no cure to relieve the sysmtoms but to avoid the sun and heat. I was diagnosed by the military in 1990 after a tour in South America.


I have had grover's disease now for 15 years. After complaining to my derm doc that it's worse with heat, he sent a skin biopsy to two separate labs. both came back positive for grover's. He put me on accutane for 3 months, and I won't lie, it was tough. I had monthly lab work for liver function. But then I had years of clear skin, and only recently when I had major surgery did it reappear for about a year and now is gone.

So if you're at the end of your rope, ask your derm doc about accutane. They don't like to prescribe it now, due to birth defects and it can make you depressed, but it's worth the years of clear skin. I was so embarrassed by the rash on my legs and back.

Also a great medication for itching is Atarax. It's a antihistamine you can get with a rx from your doc. It works great but can make you drowsy. I hope this info helps all of you.


I am a 20 year old hispanic female and I was just diagnosed with Grovers disease two months ago. My doctor has me applying an ointment twice a day and it does seem to help but I can never get rid of it. It is very embarrassing especially during summer because it is very noticeable. Is there anything else that can help besides an ointment?


My mother has had the rash for over a year now, diagnosed just two months ago. Her doctor wants to put her on three months of antibiotics! This seems extreme to me. Anyone have improvement with this treatment?


I was just diagnosed with GD. My Dermatologist said I was the second patient that day to be diagnosed, highly unusual. I am on many meds and sweat excessively (a side effect of the drugs). I was told that sweating exacerbates the itching symptoms.

I feel more like insect bites are happening all over my body, with tiny skin eruptions that linger. Was prescribed an antihistamine called Xyzal (very expensive) taken once a day. Also Clonazepam to be taken up to three times a day. Also, was prescribed a cream called Fluocinonide to apply to rash on my back. I also get itching and bumps on my scalp and am using a Fluocinonide solution to apply to my scalp. This condition is very irritating and the symptoms are embarrassing.


I was diagnosed with this a year and a half ago and I scratch like crazy. I am at my wits' end.


I am a 56 year old female and i was diagnosed with grovers disease, a year and a half ago. It has to be the most annoying thing that has ever happened. I get it all over my body, including the back of my head. I was also told it does not touch the face but it is getting closer.


I was first diagnosed with Grover's one year ago. I am a 39-year-old, white female. It came up very suddenly and during an extremely stressful time in my life. Detergents and anything with fragrance exacerbate the condition.

I use organic laundry detergent and use Burt's Bees shea butter soap and lotion. They are the only ones I have found to help and not make the condition worsen further. Hope this helps!


I am a 35 year old female who has just been diagnosed with Grover's from a biopsy. I'm surprised by the diagnosis because I don't seem to fit the profile, symptoms, or pictures I find on line.

My bumps come in two to three in a cluster and are spread out all over my body (not just torso). They look more like tiny pimples or bug bites rather than blisters. The itching is ridiculous from head to toe (not just where the bumps are)and keeps me up all night.

Does this sound like any of you? Would love to hear more from any of you out there with Grover's! about any of your experiences with Grover's!


@Bob: I am a 46 year old female, diagnosed today with Grover's. I have had symptoms for the last 18 months. I have been on a gluten free diet for two months and have found a great improvement as well. I think this should be of interest to any research being done. My dermatologist has indicated that a fungal treatment seems to help as well.


I am 71 years old and was diagnosed with Grover's disease a year ago after a biopsy.

After experimenting with foods, I have found that wheat (bread, grains, beer) definitely worsen the itching and flare rash within a few hours to a day, and this lasts for a few days. I am much better staying on a "gluten free diet" and get worse every time I cheat.

I wonder if anyone else has noticed this? --Bob


I am 80 year old male. Eight years ago I developed itching lesions on my torso which kept me awake at night and became worse.

I saw a dermatologist who biopsied me, diagnosed Grovers, and prescribed cortisone cream which gave me a little relief. One year ago my family physician ordered some lab work which showed my testosterone level to be at the bottom of the scale.

He prescribed testosterone gel, and one week after the first application I was 95 percent improved, as I have been for the past year (Grovers not cured, but certainly controlled).


Just received diagnosis of Grover's today. I too have Lupus. The doctor's choice of treatment is cortisone cream. I do not gt pustules and itching is infrequent.


Dear anon72647: I find stress really exacerbates my condition, so I would say yes! I am a 58 year old female who underwent radiation treatment and lymph node removal in one arm about 15 years ago for breast cancer.

I am really convinced lymph node removal and everything else has contributed to this. Since the lymph system is designed to remove toxins from you body, I'm convinced this is just another outlet. Diet-wise, I am trying to cut down a lot on rich foods and heavy alcohol, take in more fruit and veggie juices, and relax. But stress is a biggie!


I am a 39 year old female and have been diagnosed with Grover's Disease. I had an outbreak five years ago that went misdiagnosed. When I get very stressed out, it seems to flare up the rash and the itching begins again. Is there a relationship with stress and this disease?


I now have grovers disease on my face. can you help?


Will tanning in tanning beds for short periods of time help at all?


I am a 55 year old woman and have had Grovers for many years now. It gets worse in the summer and the winter with extreme temperatures. Every year it spreads further and is now on my face. Will it ever go away?


As Scheinfeld and Mones noted, additional factors that impair epidermal barrier function, such as photodamage, lipid-stripping detergents and cleansers, low-humidity environments, and radiation therapy, can all be expected to exacerbate GD, especially in those who may already carry a genetic predisposition towards dry, sensitive skin.[3]


I read about the correlation between exposure to mercury and skin damaged skin. My dad at 84 years old has a long history of sun exposure, received a flu shot and a week later had the symptoms of grovers with a substantial breakout. I just read that flu vaccines still contain mercury as a preservative. You can get a flu vaccine without the mercury which is given to pregnant women and children apparently.


Is there any relationship between Lupus and Grover's? It seems I have both.


Is grovers disease related to autoimmune diseases? Is it safe to undergo radiation treatments if you have Grovers? I have had surgery (lumpectomy) for stage one breast cancer and they want me to undergo radiation. My grovers disease is mild at this point. Will radiation make it worse?


What herbal treatments can be used for Grover's Disease?

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    • In the skin condition Grover's disease, itchy red bumps appear, usually on the torso.
      By: defun
      In the skin condition Grover's disease, itchy red bumps appear, usually on the torso.
    • Grover's disease occurs most often in men older than 40 or 50.
      By: Igor Mojzes
      Grover's disease occurs most often in men older than 40 or 50.
    • Microscopes are used to diagnose Grover's disease.
      By: Vasiliy Koval
      Microscopes are used to diagnose Grover's disease.
    • Cortisone cream is often prescribed for Grover's disease.
      By: agephotography
      Cortisone cream is often prescribed for Grover's disease.
    • Severe itching is a symptom of Grover's Disease.
      By: dalaprod
      Severe itching is a symptom of Grover's Disease.
    • Skin creams and moisturizers may be used to treat Grover's disease.
      By: photodsotiroff
      Skin creams and moisturizers may be used to treat Grover's disease.