SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferences
Miliaria profunda
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Miliaria profunda

Contributors: Samantha Guhan, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Miliaria is caused by occlusion of the epidermal portion of eccrine sweat ducts. There are 3 commonly recognized forms of miliaria that vary in symptoms, clinical presentation, and time course depending upon the level of occlusion. Miliaria crystallina results from occlusion at the stratum corneum, while miliaria rubra occurs when the occlusion is deeper in the epidermis. In chronic cases of miliaria rubra, pustules may develop. This subtype of miliaria rubra is known as miliaria pustulosa. Chronic or recurrent miliaria rubra may also lead to miliaria profunda.

Miliaria profunda results from ductal occlusion at the dermal-epidermis junction or papillary dermis. Papules are larger than miliaria rubra and are firm and skin colored. The miliaria profunda eruption can be pruritic or asymptomatic. It usually is shorter lived than a miliaria rubra eruption (lasting usually no more than 1 hour after overheating has ceased). The most common locations for miliaria profunda are the extremities and trunk. Due to the blockage of the eccrine ducts, there is associated anhidrosis or hypohidrosis. This can be accompanied by a compensatory hyperhidrosis in the face and axilla. Usually, the patient does not complain of any symptoms, but the hypohidrosis can potentially lead to heat exhaustion manifesting as dizziness, fatigue, and weakness.

There is no racial or sex predisposition, but children and young infants have a greater risk for developing the disease due to immature eccrine ducts. Miliaria profunda is often seen in soldiers working in tropical climates.


L74.2 – Miliaria profunda

47317002 – Miliaria profunda

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Other miliaria variants, including miliaria crystallina, miliaria pustulosa, and miliaria rubra
  • Fungal skin infections such as candidiasis can also present with pustules, but they are usually erythematous rather than skin colored.
  • Viral infection such as varicella or herpes simplex – Differentiate the herpetic vesicles on an erythematous base with the skin-colored papules of miliaria profunda; miliaria profunda is most commonly asymptomatic, compared to herpetic pain and pruritus.
  • Folliculitis – Miliaria profunda, in contrast, is not follicular.
  • Acne is also worsened by skin occlusion but usually not as acutely as miliaria profunda.
  • Arthropod bites
  • Grover disease – Differentiate the red papules and papulovesicles from the white to skin-colored papules of miliaria profunda.
  • Papular urticaria

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:08/12/2019
Last Updated:09/22/2019
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Miliaria profunda
A medical illustration showing key findings of Miliaria profunda : Hot climate exposure, Smooth papules, Anhidrosis, Recurring episodes
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.