[Skin manifestations of alcoholic liver damage]

Ther Umsch. 2000 Apr;57(4):232-5. doi: 10.1024/0040-5930.57.4.232.
[Article in German]


Alcohol-induced diseases of the liver, such as fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis with the potential development of hepato-cellular carcinoma can cause many effects on the skin. Even though they are not caused by excessive alcohol alone, but also by other diseases of the liver or other diseases of internal organs, an experienced person will be able to carry out specific diagnostic procedures. Skin symptoms due to liver diseases include 1. Vascular changes, such as spider nevi, teleangiectasias and palmar erythema. 2. Nail changes, particularly white nails. 3. Changes of the mucous membranes, i.e. glossy tongue. 4. Changes due to altered hormones, particularly gyneco-mastia, female distribution of hair and testicular atrophy and 5. Changes in the color of the skin like icterus and melanosis cutis. Rarely pruritus and other diseases of the skin are seen, such as porphyria cutanea tarda, which is often caused by an altered liver function. In the final stages of alcoholism, the neglect of personal hygiene particularly of the skin is evident (cutis vagantium). Since the exact mechanism of the skin symptoms remains obscure, it is difficult to evaluate the significance. Most often they do not correlate with the severity of the liver disease.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / diagnosis
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*