The strange case of the French girl who sweated brown

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A 9-year-old French girl suddenly began to show a five-week brown coloration on her nose, forehead, mouth and cheeks. The strange complexion concerned only the areas exposed to light, not the eye area (protected by glasses) nor the neck or body, covered by clothes. But the thing that immediately surprised was that by rubbing the face with a wet towel, the color came off remaining on the cloth. And after a few hours it reappeared. So his sweat was colored.

The diagnosis

Eventually the diagnosis of dermatologists arrived: pseudocromoidrosi, known pathology. With a novelty: the origin in this case was a bacterium. In fact, no external cause was implicated such as dyes for fabrics, chemicals and drugs that can cause changes in the bacterial flora at the surface of the skin, or more rarely microorganisms that secrete pigments, the so-called chromogenic bacteria.

Antibiotic treatment

Depending on the case, sweat becomes red, pink, brown, blue, yellow, green or black. In this case, the little girl, whose clinical history, described in the journal Annales de dermatologie et de vnrologie, was followed in a hospital in the Val d’Oise. The little girl had no clinical precedent, did not take any drugs or food supplements, did not use cosmetic products and blood and urine tests were normal. After a series of analyzes, the person responsible for peudocromohidrosis – a rare dermatological disease that mainly affects the face, but can also affect the palms and soles of the feet, neck, armpits and even the nails – was identified in the Corynebacterium. Dermatologists – after the results of the bacteriological analyzes and the spectrometric analysis of the bacterial colonies – therefore opted for an oral antibiotic treatment and an erythromycin-based cream for two weeks. And after 5 days the face returned to normal.

June 20, 2020 (change June 20, 2020 | 4:44 pm)

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