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May 1953

HAIRY TONGUE: Report of a Case Following the Use of Aureomycin Ointment

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1953;67(5):503-506. doi:10.1001/archderm.1953.01540050067013

THE HAIRY tongue is a benign disease entity of somewhat bizarre nature. Characterized by an overgrowth of the epidermis of the filiform papillae, particularly in the triangular area anterior to the circumvallate papillae, the filamentous proliferation produces an appearance which has been likened to "the hair of a dog dampened by water." The color is frequently black, but shades of brown, yellow, blue, and green have been described.

In most instances the condition is asymptomatic, the patient complaining only of the appearance of the tongue. In some cases, however, a sickening taste and pain have been described as occurring in the introspective person. Certain patients have been annoyed by tickling sensations or gagging produced by the elongated papillae.

There has been considerable controversy over the etiology of hairy tongue. Heidingsfeld,1 in 1910, reviewed the various theories propounded since Raynaud, in 1869, observed hyphae and spores in the filamentous

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