Bed Bugs How They Look Like

Bed bugs: What do bed bug bites look like? How to identify a bed bug infestation

BED BUGS are small insects inhabiting beds that crawl out at night and bite exposed skin. But what do bed bug bites look like and how do you know if you’ve been bitten?

Bed bugs are little blood-sucking insects that live in cracks and crevices in and around beds.

They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin to feed on blood.

“Bed bugs aren’t dangerous and don’t spread any diseases, but some people experience a reaction to their bites and they can be stressful to live with,” said the NHS.

Despite what some people think, bed bugs are visible to the human eye – they can grow up to 5mm in length.

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Bed bugs aren’t dangerous and don’t spread any diseases, but some people experience a reaction to their bites and they can be stressful to live with

However, as they are nocturnal and good at hiding in cracks and crevices, they can be difficult to spot.

Not being able to spot bed bugs can make it hard to know if you have an infestation, but if you are waking up in the morning with bites on your body, it could be a sign.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Bed bug bites can cause red bumps in the skin, which can be similar in appearance to mosquito or other insect bites.

Bed bug bites are painless, but can be very itchy.

Bed bug bites can cause itchy, red lumps on the skin (Image: Getty Images)

Bites from bed bugs also usually occur on exposed areas such as the face, neck, hands or arms, or any skin that is exposed during the night.

According to the NHS, bed bug bites may cause a rash or fluid-filled blisters in more severe cases.

How are bed bug bites different to bites from other insects?

As bed bugs are crawling insects, their bites often occur in lines or clusters across the skin, as they bite you whilst crawling.

Flying insects like mosquitoes are more likely to bite in random places as they fly.

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Bed bugs usually bite in lines or clusters across the skin (Image: Getty Images)

Check in and around the bed for signs of bed bugs (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

How else can you identify a bed bug infestation?

If you are getting bitten in the night, the first thing you can do to identify an infestation is examine your bed.

Shine a torch into any cracks in the bed frame where bed bugs could be hiding, as well as any furniture next to the bed.

Check the mattress and sheets for tiny brown or black stains, which could be bed bug poo.

The same goes for small blood stains, which could occur if you have rolled over and squashed a bed bug in your sleep.

Bed bugs also shed their skin as they grow, so look out for any mottled bed bug shells.

Bed bugs: What do bed bugs look like? How to know if they are in your home

BED BUGS are blood-sucking insects that bite exposed skin during the night. What do they look like and how do you know if you have bed bugs in your home?

Bed bugs are small insects that inhabit homes, hotels and other types of accommodation.

They crawl out at night and bite exposed skin to feed on blood.

What do bed bugs look like?

If you notice little bugs in your home, how do you know if they are bed bugs?

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Bedbugs tend to prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep – for example, under the mattress or along the headboard

While bed bugs are small enough to hide in tiny spaces, they are visible to the human eye.

Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped, flat and up to 5mm long – similar in appearance to a small apple seed.

They vary in colour between dark yellow, red and brown and have ridges on their backs.

Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices in and around beds, so if you spot insects lurking by your bed or nearby furniture, they may be bed bugs.

As bed bugs feed on blood while you are sleeping, they may not always venture out of their hiding places during the day.

Bed bugs are blood-sucking insects (Image: Getty Images)

So if you wake up with bites on your body in the morning, shine a torch into any potential places the bugs may be hiding to see if you can spot them.

How else can you spot an infestation?

If you are getting bitten, but can’t find any potential bed bugs, there are other ways to spot an infestation.

Aside from the bugs themselves, you may notice tiny white eggs in the crevices and joints of your mattress and furniture.

You may also notice tiny black or brown spots on your bed sheets and mattress, which could be bed bug poo.

Similarly, blood spots on bed sheets could indicate you have squashed a bed bug after it has fed while you are sleeping.

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Bed bugs are oval shaped and flat (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs live in mattresses and beds (Image: Getty Images)

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

Bed bugs: What are bed bugs? How to spot an infestation and how to get rid of them.

Bed bugs: How to spot them and how to get rid of them

As bed bugs shed their skin, they may also leave their mottled bedbug shells on or around the bed.

Bed bug infestations can sometimes leave an unpleasant, musty scent in the infested room.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Bed bug bites cause itchy, red lumps on the skin.

They often occur in lines or clusters across the skin, as bed bugs bite while they are crawling.

“Bed bugs tend to prefer fabric or wood over plastic and metal, and often hide near to where you sleep – for example, under the mattress or along the headboard,” said the NHS.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are wingless. Adults do have the vestiges of wings called wing pads, but they do not fully develop into functional wings.

Adults are brown in color, although their bodies redden after feeding. Full-grown bed bugs move relatively slowly and measure between 4 to 5 mm. Homeowners sometimes have the misconception that bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. The nymphs may be small and difficult to see, but the adults are detectable with the naked eye and may be found in the cracks and crevices they use to hide.

Newly hatched nymphs are approximately the size of the head of a pin and are white or tan until they feed. They often are described as being about the size and shape of an apple seed.

Bed Bug Control

Cimex lectularius L.

Learn what bed bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a bed bug Infestation.

Find out how bed bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

Learn about bed bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

Learn how Orkin handles bed bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of bed bug extermination services.

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

Due to the recent increase in bed bug infestations, waking up to find a bug in your bedroom can cause loads of anxiety and worry. Before you start resorting to desperate measures, take some time to learn to recognize bed bugs and common bed bug imposters. Below is the list of bugs that look like bed bugs.

To make a distinction, Lets start with what does bed bugs look like

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish-red insects that feed on blood. They are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, so they often live in bedding or mattresses and emerge at night to feed on sleeping humans.

The anatomy of a bed bug consists of an oval shaped body, a small broadly attached head, and compound eyes. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed (4-5 mm in length).

They have segmented abdomens with tiny, colored hairs that give them a striped appearance. Their antennae are shorter than their legs and have four segments. Bed bugs do not have wings and must crawl to get around.

Now that you can identify a bed bug, take a look at common bugs mistaken for bed bugs and how you can tell them apart.

1. Bat Bug

Diet: Bat bugs feed strictly on blood, but as the name infers, they prefer to feed on bats or sometimes birds, rather than humans. If their source of food leaves or is eliminated, they will go in search of other food and may then bite humans.

2. Swallow Bug

Appearance : Like Bat Bugs, Swallow bugs are also extremely close to bed bugs in appearance. Through magnification you can see that their bodies are covered all over in fine, long hair that is longer than the width of its eye.

Diet: A swallow bug’s preferred blood meal is a cliff or barn swallow. When their primary food source is not available, swallow bugs will feed on human blood.

Habitat : Swallow bugs are typically found living in swallow holes or nests, but will move into homes and businesses if necessary for survival. In homes, swallow bugs are often found coming out of walls or on ceilings, especially on upper floors close to possible swallow dwellings.

3. Spider Beetle

Ap pearance : Spider beetles are reddish-brown to black with shiny globe shaped abdomens. They are smaller than bed bugs, measuring between 1.5-3.5 mm long.

Some varieties have cream colored hairs on their head and legs, while others are completely brown. Spider beetles have long legs, 2 body segments, and 2 long antenna. When seen from above, these beetles resemble a spider.

Diet: Spider beetles are scavengers that eat cereals, grains, dried fruit, and even bird or rodent droppings. They do not typically bite humans.

Habitat: Spider beetles forage at night and are most often found in household pantries or attics. During the day, spider beetles will hide in dark cracks and crevices near their food source.

4. Book Louse Bug

Appearance: An adult book louse is much smaller than an adult bed bug, growing only from 1-1.5 mm long. They are translucent white, gray or light brown and have three clear body segments.

Sometimes booklice are mistaken for bed bug nymphs because of their light color, but their elongated shape and pronounced head helps to identify them.

Diet: Booklice feed on fungi and mold, as well as cereals, pollen, fragments of dead insects, and other things that have mold growth. The do not bite or feed on humans.

Habitat: Since they eat mold and fungi, booklice are most often found in moist places like kitchens and bathrooms. If you see them in the pantry, it may signal mold growth in the food.

They can also be found under wallpaper, in furniture, on the sides of windows, and other humid places.

5. Cockroach Nymphs

Appearance: At the nymph stage, cockroaches are similar in size to bedbugs and are the same characteristic reddish-brown color. They have a small head with a flat body, but are more cylinder shaped than bed bugs.

A good distinguishing factor is that cockroach nymphs, like full grown cockroaches, have long antennae and two cerci (appendages) at their rear end.

Diet: Cockroach nymphs do not feed on blood like bed bugs. Cockroaches are omnivores that eat both plants and animals and are known to eat almost anything. They prefer sweets, starches, and meats, but if food grows scarce, they may potentially bite humans.

Habitat: Cockroaches live near food sources where it is dark, warm, and moist. In homes, the bathroom and kitchen are favorite dwelling places, and cockroaches may cluster under sinks, in cupboards, behind the refrigerator, or in cracks and crevices.

They are most active at night when they come out to forage.

6. Wood Ticks

A ppearance : Wood ticks, also known as dog ticks, come in a range of colors, but are often brown with gray patterns on their backs. Wood ticks have a wide, oval body with a flattened top that expands and makes their shape more round as they feed on blood.

Ticks can range in size from 3.5-15 mm depending on when they ate last. Ticks have two primary body sections and are members of the arachnid family, which means that they have eight legs.

Diet: Like bed bugs, ticks survive on the blood of humans and animals. While bed bugs bite in lines or clusters, ticks will find one warm place to latch on and then burrow their head into the skin until they have finished eating.

Habitat: Ticks live primarily in wooded locations in tall grass, leaves, shrubs, and other brush. They do not jump or fly, but instead cling on to passing humans or animals.

The most common places to find ticks indoors are on pets, near pet dwellings, in small crevices, or in between floor boards.

7. Fleas

Appearance : Fleas are black to reddish brown and are smaller than bed bugs, ranging from 1.5-3.3 mm long. They also appear narrower and more oval shaped.

Fleas are flat in the vertical plane, whereas bed bugs appear flat horizontally. Fleas also have long, powerful legs with the hind pair being thicker and adapted for jumping.

Diet: Fleas are also blood feeders. Fleas prefer animal hosts over human ones. If an animal isn’t close by, however, fleas will not hesitate to bite and feed on humans.

Habitat: In the outdoors, fleas prefer to live in shady, cool places with lots of vegetation. When they find a host, they can hitch a ride into homes. Fleas generally tend to congregate in carpets, on pets, or in areas where pets sleep or spend time.

8. Black Carpet Beetle

Appearance: Black carpet beetles are approximately 5 mm long and round in shape. They typically have shiny black bodies with brown legs.

There are many other varieties of carpet beetles that will vary in color and can have brown, gray, or even yellow markings. Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles have wings and can fly.

Diet: Carpet beetles are attracted to flowers and feed on pollen and nectar. They also eat a variety of animal products like silk, hair, wool, and even other dead insects.

Carpet beetles do not bite humans, although the bristly hair of a carpet beetle can cause an allergic reaction on some people, which can lead to red skin rashes and welts.

Habitat: The preferred habitat of the carpet beetle is bird, rodent or insect nests. Once they enter homes, they can often be found between walls, in chimneys, crawlspaces, attics and basements, or anywhere there are indoor plants or dead insects.

Now What?

You find a creepy-crawly in your home and have used your new found knowledge to identify it as a dreaded bed bug… now what? While they are difficult to get rid of, with a little patience it can be done.

It is possible to try do-it-yourself bed bug removal. This consists of deep cleaning your home, washing and drying all textiles in high heat, and sometimes chemical treatments as well.

While it can be done, it is important to follow proper instructions for best results and safety.

If you have a large bed bug problem or cannot completely eliminate the bed bugs after a few attempts, it might be time to call a professional exterminator that is certified and specializes in bed bug removal.

Pest management companies use an integrated approach to ensure that the adults as well as the eggs are eliminated.

Bed bugs and their lookalikes can be tricky to identify and treat, but with a little knowledge you can take back your home.

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like (And How To Get Rid of Them Faster)

It can be difficult to identify bed bug bites because the red itchy bumps caused by bed bug bites look like flea bites or mosquito bites. Bed bugs usually come out at night and feed on the blood of humans. The tiny nasty pests can leave a cluster of bite marks on your face, arms, stomach, and legs. Some people only have a mild reaction to the bed bug bites and may only have a few small red dots. However, others have more severe reactions and are plagued by large red bite marks and an irresistible urge to scratch them.

Pictures of bed bug bites show groups of red bite marks on the body. Very often, the bite marks left by bed bugs are in straight lines or in a zig-zag and very rarely is there just one solitary red bite mark.

There are many effective natural home remedies to quickly get rid of the signs of bed bug bites. You can make your own natural treatments for insect bites with ingredients like witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera. The natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in those home remedies help to quickly relieve itching and promote healing.

In this article, you will learn how to identify bed bug bites and find out how to get rid of them quickly. You will also see images of bed bug bites to help you to spot the tell-tale signs that you have been bitten.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

The Latin name for bed bugs isCimex lectularius, or common bed bug. If you’ve ever seen a close-up picture of a bed bug you will see that they look quite scary. However, in reality, bed bugs are tiny pests that lurk in corners and crevices of beds, mattresses, and furniture. They are about the size of a small apple seed and many can be seen crawling around if you have an infestation.

Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that bed bugs have flat, brown, oval bodies. They don’t have wings but can quickly scurry over floors, ceilings, and walls. The parasitic insects live in groups and love to hide in dark places. If you have a bed bug problem in your home, you should check for signs of bed bugs in corners of your bed frame, along the seams of mattresses, along baseboards, and behind pictures. In fact, they will live in any crevice that is large enough to slide a credit card into. 1

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that bed bug eggs look like tiny white pinheads. As they go through their nymph stages they shed skins and these yellowish shells are a common sign to look for when checking for an infestation of bugs. 2

Pictures of bed bugs

How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

On most people, bed bug bites look like itchy red bumps on their body. However, it can be difficult to know if the bite marks have been caused by bed bugs or not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of bed bug bites may not appear for a few days. Also, each person reacts differently to being bitten by these irritating pests. Some people show no signs of being bitten whereas other people have a severe reaction to the bite, and large bumps appear on the skin that itch severely. 3

However, Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that the only way to know for sure if the red bite marks have been caused by bed bugs is to look for signs of a bug infestation. That will confirm if the red spots that look like bed bug bites are in fact the result of bed bugs.

Bed Bug Bites – Signs and Symptoms

Images of bed bug bites generally show clusters of itchy red bumps on a person’s arms, neck, face, legs, and other areas of their body. Depending on the number of bed bugs that have infested your sleeping area and your reaction to them, bed bug bites also have other signs.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that more often than not, bed bug bites will be in either a rough line or in a cluster of red marks. If they cause a severe skin reaction, the itching can be very intense. In rare cases, a person who has many bites and a severe allergic reaction should visit a doctor. 4

Doctors from the National Health Service say that, in some cases, the itchy red bumps on the skin can cause a rash or start to blister and fill with fluid. 5

However, it can be difficult to tell if the bites have been caused by bed bugs or another insect. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify the difference between bed bug bites, flea bites and mosquito bites.

Bed bug bite vs flea bite

Flea bites and bed bug bites look very similar and cause itchy red marks on the skin. Even in pictures, it is hard to tell bed bug bites and flea bites apart. However, there are some differences.

The symptoms of flea bites generally appear on the ankles, feet and around the abdomen. As with bed bug bites, flea bite symptoms can also appear in small clusters. Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that if you look closely at a bed bug bite you won’t see a small red dot in the middle as is characteristic of flea bites. 1

Bed bug bite vs mosquito bite

Both mosquito bites and bed bug bites can leave itchy welts on the skin. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the symptoms of mosquito bites show up very soon after the bite; in fact, in only a few minutes, a puffy red bump usually appears. 6

Unlike bed bug bites that are painless, you may feel the mosquito bite and it might start to itch immediately. It is also more likely that the mosquito bite will blister and ooze a small amount of fluid.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites – Complications

Bed bug bite marks usually heal within 2 weeks and won’t leave any permanent mark on the skin. In some cases, there are complications associated with bed bug bites.

Of course, for many people, the appearance of red itchy welts on visible areas of skin like their face or arms is an unwanted complication of bed bug bites.

One of the most common, and potentially serious, complications that is seen with bed bug bite is a secondary skin infection. Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner on WebMD says that itching from bed bug bites can be so severe that constant scratching breaks the skin and germs get it. This can cause a bacterial infection in the bite mark. 7

Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicnineHealth warns that some people experience severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Some of the signs of a serious allergic reaction include itching all over the body, tightness in the throat, chest pain, red bed bug rash that spreads from the bite area. 8

At least the good news with bed bug bites is that they don’t spread disease. The CDC states that bed bugs don’t spread disease and the most serious health threat is a lack of sleep from scratching and secondary skin infections. 3

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

If you suspect that clusters of itchy red spots on your body are the result of pesky bed bugs, you should check for signs of an infestation.

First, you don’t have to worry that having bed bugs is a sign of uncleanliness or dirtiness. The CDC says that bed bugs only feed on blood and aren’t attracted to dirt. Bed bugs have been found in the cleanest of 5-star hotels. 3

To check for signs of bed bugs, you should look in areas where they tend to live. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that tell-tale signs of bed bug activity are tiny rusty-colored stains on bed linen from bug feces or dried blood. You may also notice tiny yellow shed skins around your bed and sleeping area. 9

The next step to confirm if itchy red marks on your skin are from bed bugs is to find where the critters are hiding. You should check all joints and screw holes in your bed frame, around mattresses and box springs, and around the headboard. Other places where you might find evidence of a bed bug infestation are in the folds of drapes, in drawer joints, behind loose wallpaper, and at baseboards.

If you find feces, dead bed bugs, or bed bugs crawling around, it is time to take drastic action to get rid of the bed bugs quickly. This is the only way to prevent getting more bed bug bites in the future. Some effective ways to kill off infestation of irritating insects include using bed bug powders that destroy populations of bed bugs as well as bed bug sprays.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Fast

Fortunately, there are many great home remedies to get rid of bed bug bites quickly. Here are a few of the best ways of treating bed bug bites at home.

Cold compress

To quickly get rid of an intense itch in a swollen bump caused by a bed bug bite, you can use a cold compress. One excellent way to make a compress is by using a cold tea bag. Cold helps to relieve irritation from your skin by calming nerve endings, and tea helps to relieve itching and promotes healing.

A study from 2012 into the healing effects of tea found that compounds in black and green tea have an astringent effect. This helps to reduce itching in irritated, inflamed skin. 9 However, you don’t just have to use black or green tea bags. Research has also found that chamomile has soothing properties and is just as effective as hydrocortisone creams (often prescribed by doctors to reduce itching in insect bites). 10

How to use:

To quickly get rid of the irritation that bed bug bites cause using a cold tea compress, this is what you should do:

  1. Put a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and cool it in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the tea bag on the red itchy bumps to relieve discomfort and irritation.
  3. Apply the cold compress 2-3 times a day for fast relief from bed bug bites and bed bug rash.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera also has properties that reduce itching and help to speed up the healing time of a bed bug bite. Aloe vera contains many properties to nourish your skin and relieve inflammation and irritation.

One study into the healing properties of aloe vera found that it has a soothing effect on irritated skin. It was found that aloe vera was just as effective as hydrocortisone creams in reducing itching and inflammatory responses in the skin. 11

How to use:

Aloe vera gel is great for helping bed bug bites to heal faster. This is what you should do:

  1. Use aloe vera gel with as few added ingredients as possible and liberally apply some gel to the bite marks.
  2. Massage the gel into the area around the bed bug bites to soothe the skin and stop itching.
  3. Apply the natural remedy 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal quicker and get welcome relief from the constant itching.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil will help to treat the itch in bed bug bites and help prevent secondary infections making the skin worse. Tea tree oil contains powerful antimicrobial compounds as well as properties that help to reduce inflammation and itching.

One of the benefits of using tea tree oil to quickly treat bed bug bites is that it helps soothe allergic skin reactions. For example, theBritish Journal of Dermatologyreported on a study into the antihistamine effect of tea tree oil. Histamine is released by the body as a response to allergens. It was found that applying tea tree oil to skin inflammation helped to soothe the allergic response fast. 12

How to use:

You can use tea tree oil as a spot treatment on one or two bed bug bites or you can mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil to apply to clusters of bed bug bites. This is what you should do:

  1. Put a drop of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton bud and apply to the itchy bed bug bite.
  2. Apply 2 times a day to help stop itching in the bite marks and prevent bacterial infections affecting the skin area.

For large clusters of bed bug bites, you can get relief by adding 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal and treat any bed bug bite blisters that have formed.

You can also use tea tree oil to make a natural spray for bed bug eradication.

Other ways to get rid of bed bug bites quickly

There are many other natural ways to get rid of the visible signs of bed bug bites. Here are some more ways.

Witch hazelis a natural astringent that quickly soothes itchy skin and reduces redness. Witch hazel is perfect for treating bed bug bites and can be applied whenever your bite marks start itching.

Apple cider vinegar, when it is diluted with water in equal proportions, helps to reduce itching and kill germs in bed bug bites. Just apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area to stop itching fast.

Cucumbershave an amazing soothing effect on the skin and will give you instant relief from itching and irritation. All you have to do is apply slices of cool cucumber to your bite marks.

For more information on these natural bed bug bite remedies and to find out some more effective ways to treat bed bug bite signs at home, please read my article on natural ways to make bed bug bites heal faster.

How to Prevent Bed Bug Bites

Of course, preventing an infestation of bed bugs is much easier than having to deal with the discomfort bed bug bites cause.

The CDC says that one of the best ways to prevent bed bug bites is to regularly check your bed, mattress, and bed linen for signs of bed bug activity. This can help you get rid of bed bugs before they become a major problem. 3

Also, you should be careful of buying second-hand furniture. The National Health Services warns to avoid buying second-hand mattresses and if you do buy used furniture, carefully inspect it for bed bugs. 5 Remember, that in the right conditions, bed bugs can live for many months without feeding!

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

  1. WebMD. Bedbugs.
  2. EPA. Bed bug appearance and life cycle.
  3. CDC. Bed bugs FAQs
  4. MayoClinic. Bedbug symptoms.
  5. NHS. Bedbugs.
  6. MayoClinic. Mosquito bites.
  7. WebMD. Pictures of bed bug bites.
  8. eMedicineHealth. Bedbugs.
  9. EPA. How to find bed bugs.
  10. Phytojournal. Tannins are astringent.
  11. OWM. 2011;57(5):28-36.
  12. Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2008;21(2):106-10.
  13. Br J Dermatol.2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.

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