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Jami L Miller, MD
Section Editor
Mark V Dahl, MD
Deputy Editor
Abena O Ofori, MD


In the normal state, sweat is colorless. The term "chromhidrosis," derived from the Greek "chroma" (colored) and "hidros" (sweat), describes the occurrence of colored sweat.

True chromhidrosis is a rare condition characterized by the secretion of colored sweat from apocrine or eccrine sweat glands. In pseudochromhidrosis, a more common disorder, sweat becomes colored after secretion from the sweat gland. Pseudochromhidrosis results from contact between sweat and dyes, chemicals, or chromogenic bacteria on the skin.  

The clinical features, diagnosis, and management of chromhidrosis and pseudochromhidrosis will be reviewed here. Other sweat disorders, including hyperhidrosis (excessive sweat) and bromhidrosis (malodorous sweat), are reviewed separately. (See "Primary focal hyperhidrosis" and "Bromhidrosis".)


In chromhidrosis, sweat glands secrete colored sweat onto the surface of the skin.

Etiology — Chromhidrosis may involve apocrine glands or eccrine glands. Apocrine glands develop after puberty and are most densely distributed in the axillae, anogenital areas, and areolae. Eccrine glands are primarily responsible for thermoregulation and are widely distributed over the body, with the highest concentration on the palms and soles. Apoeccrine glands are an intermediate type of sweat gland that exhibit features of both apocrine and eccrine glands. Whether apoeccrine glands are involved in chromhidrosis is unclear.

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 01, 2017.
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