Chromhidrosis manifests with colored sweat on the face, in the underarms, or on the areola of the breasts. Sweat may be yellow, green, blue, brown, or black. Colors are due to a pigment produced in the sweat glands called lipofuscin. Lipofuscin is common in human cells, but people with chromhidrosis have higher concentrations of lipofuscin or lipofuscin that is in a higher-than-normal state of oxidation. Some patients with chromhidrosis report a feeling of warmth or a prickly sensation before the onset of colored sweat.
The condition is rare. Few prevalance statistics are available. It may be more common among those with African heritage.
A more common type of discolored sweat is called pseudochromhidrosis. With pseudochromhidrosis, sweat takes on an unusual color after secretion from the sweat gland as it comes in contact with dyes, chemicals, or chromogenic bacteria on the skin.
Other possible reasons for the appearance of colored sweat include: infection, blood in the sweat (hematidrosis, see below), excess bilirubin, and/or poisoning.
A key consideration is to rule out more serious medical conditions before making a diagnosis of chromhidrosis.
According to the medical journal Pediatrics, chromhidrosis can be treated with topical capsaicin cream 0.025% (applied to the affected skin 1-2 times per day). Others have noted that Botox injections can treat chromhidrosis. Because the condition is chronic, treatment will need to be maintained for continuous results.
The goal of treatment for chromhidrosis is to reduce symptoms in order to also reduce any related psychosocial impacts or stigma. Chromhidrosis can lead to embarrassment, sadness, anxiety, and feelings of social isolation.