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ICD-10 L75.1
ICD-9 705.89
DiseasesDB 30737
eMedicine derm/596 

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Kiran Singh, M.D. [2]


Chromhidrosis is a rare condition characterized by the secretion of colored sweat. It is caused by the deposition of lipofuscin in the sweat glands. Cases of red, blue, green, yellow and black sweat have been reported. Usually chromhydrosis affects the apocrine glands. Chromhydrosis of the eccrine glands is rare, it occurs mainly after the ingestion of certain dyes or drugs.

Two glands produce sweat: eccrine and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands secrete a clear, odorless fluid that serves to regulate body temperature. Apocrine glands secrete a thick, milky sweat that, once broken down by bacteria, is the main cause of body odor.

Chromhidrosis is apocrine in origin. Although apocrine glands are found in the genital, axillary, areolar, and facial skin, chromhidrosis is reported only on the face, axillae, and breast areola. Lipofuscin pigment is responsible for the colored sweat. This pigment is produced in the apocrine gland, and its various oxidative states account for the characteristic yellow, green, blue, or black secretions observed in apocrine chromhidrosis.

In contrast, eccrine chromhidrosis is rare and occurs with ingestion of certain dyes or drugs, and pseudochromhidrosis occurs when clear eccrine sweat becomes colored on the surface of the skin as a result of extrinsic dyes, paints, or chromogenic bacteria.

Approximately 10% of people without the disease have colored sweat that is regarded as acceptable and within the normal range.

Pathophysiology: Lipofuscin is a yellowish brown pigment that is normally found in the cytoplasm of relatively nondividing cells (eg, neurons). In chromhidrosis, lipofuscins are found in a higher-than-normal concentration or a higher-than-normal state of oxidation in apocrine glands. However, why some glands experience these changes is unclear. This increased level of oxidation results in the green, blue, and even black sweat seen in chromhidrosis.

The yellow, green, and blue apocrine secretions produce a yellow fluorescence under a Wood lamp (UV 360 nm), whereas the dark brown and black apocrine secretions seldom autofluoresce. Substance P is also postulated to be an important neurotransmitter in this process.

Pseudochromhidrosis is of an extrinsic etiology in which a chemical on the surface of the skin reacts with eccrine secretions and produces the color transformation.


In the US: Incidence statistics are not available; the disease is rare. Internationally: Incidence statistics are not available; the disease is rare. Race: Apocrine chromhidrosis appears to be more common in blacks than in whites, but facial chromhidrosis is described only in whites.

Sex: No sexual predilection is reported.

Age: Chromhidrosis is noted after puberty, when the apocrine glands are activated.


Physical Examination



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Dermatology Atlas".
  • Schwarz T, Neumann R, Duschet P, Bruckler B, Klein W, Oppolzer G, Bardach H, Gschnait F (1989). "[Apocrine chromhidrosis]". Hautarzt. 40 (2): 106–9. PMID 2714985.
  • June Kim, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Dermatology, University of New Mexico. "[Chromhidrosis]".

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