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Skin Care and Diseases

What is cause of chlorine odor?

08/27/2003

Question:

Is there any condition that would cause a chlorine odor to a persons skin, excluding cystic fibrosis, use of bleach/detergent or swimming?

Answer:

To my knowledge there are no basic medical problems that cause chlorine-smelling sweat or chlorine body odor. I would suggest that the odor is probably coming from your clothing. There have been cases of patients thinking that they had the odor, when in fact no one else could smell it. This has been associated with tumors of the olfactory system. It is very important that you see your board certified dermatologist. Bring all of your laundry materials with you, bring several pieces of clothing that have been recently cleansed by either yourself or a launderer. Based on the information you have given me, I am sorry I cannot go forward with an extensive differential diagnosis. It would be very important for you to have careful medical evaluation. 

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati