Background: Chloracne is an acneiform eruption due to poisoning by halogenated aromatic compounds having a specific molecular shape. This condition is always a symptom of systemic poisoning by chemical chloracnegens and not just a cutaneous disorder.
Methods: We have studied a patient with severe chloracne who showed cutaneous lesions involving mostly the face and the axillae.
Results: Histopathologic study of the facial lesions demonstrated that almost every vellus hair follicle was involved, showing a dilated infundibulum filled by a keratotic plug. This keratotic material was mostly composed of orthokeratotic basket-weave basophilic corneocytes, namely infundibular keratin, although there were also some dilated infundibula containing eosinophilic laminated or granular sebum at their center. Small infundibular cysts were more numerous than comedones. Mature and well-developed sebaceous glands were seen at the base of many of the dilated infundibula and no squamous metaplasia of the sebaceous glands or ducts could be demonstrated. Hyperpigmentation of the lesions resulted from hyperproduction of melanin by a normal number of melanocytes along the basal layer of the epidermis and infundibular epithelium. Abundant melanin granules also impregnated the corneocytes of the infundibular plugs.
Conclusions: Our findings support the notion that tiny infundibular cysts rather than comedones represent the basic lesions of chloracne.