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Dermatitis. 2012 Nov-Dec;23(6):258-68. doi: 10.1097/DER.0b013e318273a3b8.

Occupational contact dermatitis in hairdressers/cosmetologists: retrospective analysis of north american contact dermatitis group data, 1994 to 2010.

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Department of Dermatology, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA.



European studies document that occupational contact dermatitis (CD) is common in hairdressers, but studies from North America are lacking.


The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of occupational CD among North American hairdressers/cosmetologists (HD/CS) and to characterize responsible allergens and irritants as well as their sources.


A cross-sectional analysis of patients patch tested by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group between 1994 and 2010 was conducted.


Of 35,842 patients, 432 (1.2%) were HD/CS. Significantly, most of the HD/CS were female (89.8%) and younger than 40 years (55.6%) as compared with non-hairdressers (P < 0.0001). The rates for allergic and irritant CD in HD/CS were 72.7% and 37.0%, respectively. The most common body site of involvement was the hand, and this was significantly more common than in non-HD/CS (P < 0.0001). The most frequent currently relevant and occupationally related allergens were glyceryl thioglycolate, p-phenylenediamine, nickel sulfate, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate, and quaternium-15. Hair dyes, permanent wave solutions, and other hair products were common sources of allergens. The North American Contact Dermatitis Group allergen series missed at least 1 occupationally-related allergen in 26.2% of patients.


Contact dermatitis in North American HD/CS is common, and occupationally related allergens are those found in HD/CS products. Supplemental hairdressing/cosmetology antigen series are important in detecting all occupationally related allergens in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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