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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995 Nov;33(5 Pt 1):693-706; quiz 707-10.

Calcifying disorders of the skin.

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Department of Dermatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.


Calcium is vital to many biologic processes. In skin, it has a profound effect on keratinocyte proliferation, differentiation, and cell-cell adhesion. Serum calcium is tightly regulated by parathyroid hormone and 1,25(OH)2D3. Despite this careful regulation, calcification and ossification of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues may occur. Cutaneous calcification may be divided into four major categories: dystrophic, metastatic, idiopathic, and iatrogenic. Dystrophic calcification occurs as a result of local tissue injury or abnormalities. Metastatic calcification results from abnormal calcium and/or phosphate metabolism. Virtually any process that calcifies may secondarily ossify. Primary ossification may rarely occur.

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