Blaschko's lines

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Blaschko's lines, also called the Lines of Blaschko, are an extremely rare and unexplained phenomenon of human anatomy first presented in 1901 by German dermatologist Alfred Blaschko. Neither a specific disease nor a predictable symptom of a disease, Blaschko's lines are an invisible pattern built into human DNA[citation needed]. Many inherited and acquired diseases of the skin or mucosa manifest themselves according to these patterns, creating the visual appearance of stripes.

The cause of the stripes is thought to result from mosaicism; they do not correspond to nervous, muscular, or lymphatic systems. What makes them more remarkable is that they correspond quite closely from patient to patient, usually forming a "V" shape over the spine and "S" shapes over the chest, stomach, and sides.

It is theorized that the lines define the natural areas of growth between the original cells of the embryo and the later (copied) cells of mature adults.

Conditions distributed along Blaschko’s lines

A number of X-linked, congenital/naevoid and acquired skin diseases follow Blaschko’s lines. These have been extensively reviewed by Bolognia. Examples include:


  • A. Blaschko (1901). "Die Nervenverteilung in der Haut in ihre Beziehung zu den Erkrankungen der Haut". Beilage zu den Verhandlungen der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft VII Congress, Breslau
  • R. Jackson (1976). "The lines of Blaschko: a review and reconsideration: Observations of the cause of certain unusual linear conditions of the skin". The British Journal of Dermatology. 95(4): 349–360. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  • E. Hale (2001). "Acquired Blaschko Dermatitis". Dermatology Journal, Department of Dermatology, New York University. 7(1): 8.
  • Happle R, Assim A (2001). "The lines of Blaschko on the head and neck". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 44: 612–615.
  • Bolognia J L, Orlow S J, Gilick S G (1994). "Lines of Blaschko". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 31(2): 157–190.
  • Scheinfeld S,Tarlow M, Burgin S (2003). "Blaschkoid eccrine spiradenomas, Cutis". 70: 73–75.

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