What causes Dermatitis Herpetiformis

The exact cause of herpetiformis (DH) is not well understood, but it is thought to be related to an autoimmune reaction in the body. That is, the body’s immune system reacting to a protein called gluten in foods containing wheat, barley and rye. This reaction causes a skin rash to develop.

It is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role in the development of DH. Research has identified certain genetic markers that are associated with an increased risk of both celiac disease and DH, suggesting that a shared genetic predisposition may contribute to both conditions.

This condition is rare in children. It usually shows up for the first time when you’re between 30 and 40 years old. Men tend to get it more often than women. You’re more likely to have it if one of your parents or a brother or sister does too. It’s most common in people of European descent and rare in people of African or Asian heritage.

The following diseases increase your risk of dermatitis herpetiformis (DH):

  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Lupus

Do remember that, the exact cause of DH is not yet fully understood, but it is thought to be a combination of autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors.