Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Serving Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby and surrounding areas

Dermatitis Herpetiformis:

  • Produces blisters and crusts (scabs) most commonly on the elbows, knees, back of the scalp and buttocks
  • Is very itchy
  • Is not “dermatitis” or eczema
  • Is not “herpes”
  • Is not contagious
  • May last months or years
  • Has no known cause, although it may be a reaction to gluten
    • Gluten is a component of wheat, rye, oats and barley
  • Is sometimes associated with Celiac Disease
    • Celiac Disease, is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract associated with bloating, diarrhea and poor absorption of food


  • A gluten free diet will help improve the symptoms
    • A gluten free diet requires the avoidance of wheat, rye, oats or barley, or any foods and beverages made from them
    • This is a very difficult diet to follow because gluten is commonly found as a filler in many foods e.g. hot dogs, gravies etc.
    • Corn, rice, quinoa and potatoes are safe to eat
    • If a person adheres to a strict gluten free diet, the rash will improve over a period of 6 to 12 months
  • A variety of creams and pills are available
  • Please talk to you doctor about your treatment options
  • To learn more about Dermatitis Herpetiformis and to visit a support group for patients with Dermatitis Herpetiformis, please click here