Hong Kong protests: 5 things you need to know about chloracne

Hong Kong protests: 5 things you need to know about chloracne

A Hong Kong journalist was recently diagnosed with the skin condition, but what is it?

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A case of a reporter contracting chloracne has caused fears of poisoning from widespread use of tear gas.
Photo: Winson Wong/SCMP

Chloracne is a skin condition resembling acne, and is most commonly seen in those who have been exposed to large amounts of dioxins by inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin. Recently, a reporter from Stand News has been diagnosed with the condition, which some link to his extended exposure to tear gas after frequent reporting from the front lines of the protests. Whether tear gas releases dioxins is still not clear. Here's five facts to know about chloracne: 

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  1. Chloracne is characterised by an outbreak of blackheads, cysts, and pustules, and is usually found on the cheekbones, behind the ears, and along the arms.
  2. Dioxins can be found in herbicides, insecticides, and food products, such as shellfish and meat and dairy products.
  3. Dioxins are carcinogenic, and can damage the immune and reproductive systems.
  4. Chemicals that cause chloracne are known as Chloracnegens, and dissolve into fat and oils, meaning they can remain in the body long after exposure.
  5. The duration of the condition varies from person to person, with some symptoms disappearing after two years, while in other cases, the symptoms are essentially permanent.

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