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Hyperelastic skin

Definition

Hyperelastic skin is skin that can be stretched beyond what is considered normal. Skin then returns to normal.

Alternative Names

India rubber skin

Considerations

Hyperelasticity occurs when there is a problem with how the body makes collagen fibers. Collagen is a type of protein that makes up much of the body's tissue.

Common Causes

Hyperelastic skin is most often seen in the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. People with this disorder have very elastic skin and joints that can be bent more than is normally possible. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as rubber men or women.

Other diseases that may cause skin that is easily stretched include:

  • Marfan syndrome
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Pseudoxanthoma elasticum
  • Subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Sun-related changes of older skin

Home Care

You need to take special steps to avoid skin damage when you have this condition because your skin is more delicate than normal. You are more likely to get cuts and scrapes and scars may stretch and become more visible.  

Talk to your doctor about steps you should take for this problem and get skin check ups often. 

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your skin appears to be very stretchy
  • Your child appears to have delicate skin

What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your doctor will do physical exam to assess your skin, bones, muscles, and joints. 

Some questions you may be asked include:

  • Did the skin appear abnormal at birth, or did this develop over time?
  • Is there a history of the skin becoming damaged easily, or being slow to heal?
  • Have you or any member of your family been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
  • What other symptoms are present?
 

References

Islam MP, Roach ES. Neurocutaneous syndromes. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 65.

Morelli JG. Diseases of the dermis. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed.Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 651.


Review Date: 11/20/2012
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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