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ICD-10 R23.1
ICD-9 782.61

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Luke Rusowicz-Orazem, B.S.


Pallor is a reduced amount of oxyhemoglobin in skin or mucous membrane, a pale color which can be caused by illness, emotional shock or stress, avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight, anaemia or genetics. It is more evident on the face and palms. It can develop suddenly or gradually, depending on the cause.

Pallor is not usually clinically significant unless it is accompanied by a general pallor (pale lips, tongue, palms, mouth and other regions with mucous membranes). It is distinguished from similar symptoms such as hypopigmentation (loss of skin pigment).

Pale skin is also a very light skin tone most commonly associated with people of European descent, particularly people of Celtic and Scandinavian descent. In addition, people who avoid excessive sun exposure and thus avoid unhealthy sun tanning also tend to have paler complexions in comparison to their peers, particularly during summer.

Physical examination findings of pallor and paleness

  • White fingers
  • White Nails
  • White patches or blotches
  • Hypopigmentation


Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Adrenal hypertension , Alcohol-induced hypertension , Aortic arches defect, Aortic dilatation, Arrhythmia, Bland-garland-white syndrome , Cardiac tamponade , Chronic arterial occlusive disease, Chronic orthostatic hypotension , Cocaine-induced hypertension , Complete atrioventricular canal , Congenital arteriovenous shunt , Conn syndrome-induced hypertension , Cushing's syndrome-induced hypertension , Cyclosporine-induced hypertension , Drug-induced hypertension , Erythropoietin-induced hypertension , Heart attack , Hyperaldosteronism-induced hypertension , Hypertension , Hypotension, Hypovolemia, Infective endocarditis , Jervell and lange-nielsen syndrome , Licorice-induced hypertension , Orthostatic hypotension, Patent ductus arteriosus , Peripheral vascular disease, Persistent patency of the arterial duct , Renal hypertension , Renovascular hypertension , Resistant hypertension , Secondary hypertension , Shock, Sneddon syndrome , Temporal arteritis , Wolf-parkinson-white syndrome
Chemical/Poisoning Black locust poisoning , Earthball poisoning , Golden chain tree poisoning , Grass spider poisoning , Iron poisoning , Kentucky coffee tea poisoning , Lead-containing paint , Marine turtle poisoning , Nitrates , Nitrek, Nitro tab, Nitro-bid, Nitrocine, Nitro-derm, Nitrodisc, Nitro-dur, Nitrogard, Nitroglycerin, Nitroglyn, Nitrol, Nitrolingual, Nitrong, Nitroquick, Nitrostat, Nitro-time, Tetraethyl pyrophosphate 
Dental Actinic cheilitis
Dermatologic Acne-sol powder, Aldicarb , Amphetamine abuse, Benacine, Beractant, Bitolterol, Bromophos , Brompheniramine, Carbaryl , Catovit, Cephalosporin-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Chloramphenicol-induced sideroblastic anemia , Chlorate salts , Chlorfenvinphos , Chlorpyrifos , Cidofovir, Cocaine-induced hypertension , Corticosteroid-induced hypertension , Coumaphos , Cyclosporine-induced hypertension , Dapsone, Demeton-s-methyl , Deponit, Diazinon , Dichlorvos , Dicrotophos , Dimetane, Dioxathion , Disulfoton , Doxepine-induced immune hemolytic anemia , D-plus hemolytic uremic syndrome , Drug allergies , Drug-induced hypertension , Drug-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Drug-induced sideroblastic anemia , Ecstasy, Ethion , Fensulfothion , Fenthion , Flumadine, Foradil aerolizer, Formoterol, Fungizone intravenous, Mazindol, Methidathion , Methiocarb , Methomyl , Minitran, Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, Parathion , Penicillin-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Phosdrin , Pramipexole, Profenofos , Prolintane, Rimantidine, Sanorex, Sulfasalazine, Sulphonamide , Survanta, Terbufos , Tornalate, Transderm-nitro
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat Epiglotitis , Jervell and lange-nielsen syndrome , Oral thrush , Thrush 
Endocrine Acromegaly, Adrenal adenoma, Adrenal cancer , Adrenal gland hyperfunction, Adrenal hemorrhage, Adrenal hypertension , Adrenal incidentaloma , Adrenal medulla neoplasm, Autoimmune thyroid disease , Congenital hypothyroidism , Cushing's syndrome-induced hypertension , Familial hypopituitarism , Familial hypothyroidism , Glucagonoma syndrome , Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Hyperadrenalism , Hypopituitarism, Hypothyroidism, Lymphomatous thyroiditis, Multiple endocrine neoplasia , Obesity , Panhypopituitarism , Pheochromocytoma , Riedel syndrome , Sheehan syndrome , Thyroid agenesis , Thyroid hormone plasma membrane transport defect , Thyroid agenesis, Waterhouse-friederichsen syndrome 
Environmental Alpine syndrome , Frostbite , Heat exhaustion , Heat stroke, Hypothermia, Lack of sun exposure, Raynaud's disease, Sea sickness , Vertigo 
Gastroenterologic Abdominal aneurysm, Abdominal cancer, Banti's syndrome , Celiac disease , Collagenous celiac disease , Cyclic vomiting syndrome , Dumping syndrome, Functioning pancreatic endocrine tumor, Gastrointestinal bleeding , Intestinal bleeding , Liver tumors, Mallory-weiss syndrome , Pancreatic carcinoma, Refractory celiac disease , Sandifer syndrome , Sarrouy disease , Severe gastroenteritis, Stomach upset, Tropical sprue 
Genetic Albinism, Alpha thalassemia , Beta thalassemia , Blue diaper syndrome, Cerebelloparenchymal autosomal recessive disorder 3 , Ciliary dyskinesia-bronchiectasis , Congenital deficiency of intrinsic factor, Cowden's syndrome , Ehlers danlos syndrome , Familial hypopituitarism , Familial hypothyroidism , Familial myelofibrosis , Familial selective vitamin b12 malabsorption , Familial wilms' tumor, Favism , Flotch syndrome , Gorlin-bushkell-jensen syndrome, Incontinentia pigmenti , Kotzot-richter syndrome , Mende syndrome, Orotic aciduria hereditary, Oroticaciduria, Osteogenesis imperfecta, Pachyonychia congenita recessive , Phenylketonuria, Poems syndrome, Pseudoxanthoma elasticum , Rosai-dorfman disease , Trichorhinophalangeal syndrome type i, Triploid syndrome , Turner syndrome , Waardenburg syndrome, Weinstein kliman scully syndrome , William's syndrome, X-linked alpha thalassemia mental retardation syndrome , X-linked sideroblastic anemia 
Hematologic Abdominal aneurysm, Acanthocytosis , Achrestic anemia , Acquired aplastic anemia, Acquired idiopathic sideroblastic anemia, Acquired prothrombin complex deficiency , Acquired pure red cell aplasia , Acquired aplastic anemia, Acquired prothrombin complex deficiency, Acute arterial occlusion, Acute biphenotypic leukemia, Acute blood disorder, Acute leukemia , Acute myeloblastic leukemia, Acute myelocytic leukemia , Acute myeloid leukemia , Acute non lymphoblastic leukemia , Adrenal hemorrhage, Anemia, Anisocytosis , Aplastic anemia , Asrar-facharzt-haque syndrome , Autoimmune hemolytic anemia , Banti's syndrome , Beta thalassemia , Calcium deficiency , Cephalosporin-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Chloramphenicol-induced sideroblastic anemia , Chronic anemia , Chronic leukemia , Chronic myelogenous leukemia , Chronic myeloid leukemia , Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia , Clotting disorder, Cobalamin malabsorption, Cold autoimmune hemolytic anemia , Compartment syndrome, Congenital aplastic anemia , Congenital spherocytic anemia , Congenital vitamin b12 malabsorption , Congenital aplastic anemia, Congenital spherocytic hemolytic anemia, Cooley syndrome , Copper deficiency-induced sideroblastic anemia , Corticosteroid-induced hypertension , Cycloserine-induced sideroblastic anemia , Decreased mean cell haemoglobin , Decreased mean cell volume , Diabetic hypoglycemia , Diamond-blackfan syndrome, Dimorphic anemia , Disseminated intravascular coagulation, Double outlet right ventricle , Doxepine-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Drug-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Drug-induced sideroblastic anemia , Erythroblastopenia , Erythrocyte enzyme defects, Estren-dameshek syndrome , Ethanol-induced sideroblastic anemia , Evan's syndrome , Familial selective vitamin b12 malabsorption , Fanconi syndrome , Fanconi's anemia , Felty syndrome , Folate-deficiency anemia , Folic acid deficiency anemia, Gastrointestinal bleeding , Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, Graeck-imerslund disease , Hemangioma thrombocytopenia syndrome , Hemolytic anemia , Hemolytic-uremic syndrome, Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic reticulosis , Hemorrhage, Hereditary spherocytosis , Hodgkin's disease , Hyperchromic anemia , Hypoglycemia , Inherited hemolytic-uremic syndrome , Inherited spherocytic anemia , Intestinal bleeding , Iron deficiency anemia , Iron poisoning , Isoniazid-induced sideroblastic anemia , Juvenile megaloblastic anemia , Kasabach merritt syndrome, Lederer's anemia , Macrocytic hyperchromic anemia , Malabsorption , Marchiafava-micheli disease , Megaloblastic anemia , Megalocytic-normochromic anemia , Menorrhagia , Methyldopa-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Microcytic anemia , Microcytic hyperchromic anemia , Microcytic hypochromic anemia , Myelodysplastic disease, Myelpathic anemia , Non-hereditary spherocytic anemia , Non-hodgkin's lymphoma , Normochromic anemia , Normocytic anemia , Nutritional anemia , Oroticaciduria, Orotidylic decarboxylase deficiency , Orthostatic intolerance , Pancytopenia , Pearson's anemia , Penicillin-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Pernicious anemia , Platelet function disorders, Plummer-vinson syndrome , Poikilocytic anemia , Posthemorrhagic anemia , Primary autoimmune hemolytic anemia , Pure red cell aplasia , Pyruvate kinase deficiency , Quinidine-induced immune hemolytic anemia , Raynaud's disease, Sarrouy disease , Secondary autoimmune hemolytic anemia , Selective vitamin b12 malabsorption with proteinuria , Sheehan syndrome , Shock, Sickle cell anemia, Sideroblastic anemia , Sideropenic anemia , Spherocytic anemia , Spherocytosis , Spur-cell anemia , Thalassemia , Thrombocytopenia , Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura , Thyroid hormone plasma membrane transport defect , Toxin-induced sideroblastic anemia , Transient erythroblastopenia, Vitamin b12 deficiency , Volume depletion , Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia , Warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia , Wiskott-aldrich syndrome, Wt limb blood syndrome , Xerocytosis
Iatrogenic Compartment syndrome, Dumping syndrome
Infectious Disease Athlete's foot , Bacterial meningitis , Congenital herpes simplex , Epiglotitis , Hookworm , Infective endocarditis , Malaria , Malathion , Mycetoma , Oral thrush , Post streptococcal glomerulonephritis , Reticuloendotheliosis , Thrush , Tuberculosis
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Acute myelofibrosis , Acute panmyelosis , Acute myelofibrosis, Back tumor , Benign paroxysmal torticollis of infancy , Bone marrow failure syndromes, Familial myelofibrosis , Leukonychia totalis, Mixed connective tissue disease , Multiple myeloma , Myelofibrosis , Myelogenous leukemia , Myeloproliferative disease , Myxoedema, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome , Spinal shock 
Neurologic Acute cholinergic dysautonomia , Acute meningitis , Acute cholinergic dysautonomia, All-down syndrome , Bacterial meningitis , Basilar migraine, Benign paroxysmal torticollis of infancy , Cerebelloparenchymal autosomal recessive disorder 3 , Diencephalic syndrome , Down syndrome, Fainting, Fever, Grand mal epilepsy , Grasbeck-imerslund disease , Mende syndrome, Motion sickness , Neuroblastoma , Neurofibromatosis, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome , Sandifer syndrome , Sea sickness , Shaken baby syndrome, Sleep deprivation, Temporal arteritis , Temporal lobe epilepsy , Vertigo , Vestibulocochlear dysfunction , William's syndrome
Nutritional/Metabolic Blue diaper syndrome, Calcium deficiency , Cobalamin malabsorption, Congenital vitamin b12 malabsorption , Congenital aplastic anemia, Congenital spherocytic hemolytic anemia, Diabetic hypoglycemia , Favism , Hip cancer, Nutritional anemia , Obesity , Phenylketonuria, Scurvy, Type 1 diabetes , Vitamin b12 deficiency 
Obstetric/Gynecologic Ectopic pregnancy
Oncologic Abdominal cancer, Actinic cheilitis, Acute arterial occlusion, Acute biphenotypic leukemia, Acute erythroleukemia , Acute leukemia , Acute megacaryoblastic leukemia, Acute myeloblastic leukemia, Acute myelocytic leukemia , Acute myeloid leukemia , Acute non lymphoblastic leukemia , Adrenal adenoma, Adrenal cancer , Adrenal incidentaloma , Adrenal medulla neoplasm, Back tumor , Chronic leukemia , Chronic myelogenous leukemia , Chronic myeloid leukemia , Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia , Cowden's syndrome , Diencephalic syndrome , Familial wilms' tumor, Flotch syndrome , Functioning pancreatic endocrine tumor, Glucagonoma syndrome , Hip cancer, Hodgkin's disease , Leukemia , Liver tumors, Lymphoblastic lymphoma, Multiple endocrine neoplasia , Multiple myeloma , Myelodysplastic disease, Myelogenous leukemia , Neuroblastoma , Non-hodgkin's lymphoma , Pancreatic carcinoma, Pheochromocytoma , Plasmacytoma anaplastic , Rib tumor , Small intestine cancer, Solitary extramedullary plasmacytoma , Spleen cancer , Wilms tumor
Ophthalmologic Oculocutaneous albinism, Retinopathy 
Overdose/Toxicity Alcohol-induced hypertension , Earthball poisoning , Licorice-induced hypertension 
Psychiatric Fear, Grief, Stress, Traumatic spreading depression syndrome 
Pulmonary Apnea , Ciliary dyskinesia-bronchiectasis , Goodpasture's syndrome , Idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis , Pulmonary edema, Severe asthma , Suffocation , Tuberculosis
Renal/Electrolyte Acute tubulointerstitial nephritis , Acute interstitial nephritis , Azotemia, Chronic kidney disease, Fanconi syndrome , Fanconi's anemia , Friedel heid grosshans syndrome, Goodpasture's syndrome , Post streptococcal glomerulonephritis , Renal hypertension , Renovascular hypertension 
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Acute myelofibrosis , Acute myelofibrosis, Allergic tension-fatigue syndrome , Anaphylaxis , Celiac disease , Chediak-higashi syndrome, Cold autoimmune hemolytic anemia , Collagenous celiac disease , Drug allergies , Felty syndrome , Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis , Leprosy , Loeys-dietz syndrome , Myelofibrosis , Neurofibromatosis, Pseudoxanthoma elasticum , Reiter’s syndrome , Rheumatic fever
Sexual Congenital herpes simplex 
Trauma Frostbite , Heat exhaustion , Heat stroke, Hypothermia, Shaken baby syndrome
Urologic D-plus hemolytic uremic syndrome , Inherited hemolytic-uremic syndrome , Uremia
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order


External Links

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