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Clin Dermatol. 2013 Jul-Aug;31(4):467-478. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2013.01.014.

Contact dermatitis: facts and controversies.

Author information

1
The Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot 76100 Israel; The School of Medicine, Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel. Electronic address: wolf_r@netvision.net.il.
2
The Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot 76100 Israel; The School of Medicine, Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.
3
Department of Dermatology, Second University of Naples, via S. Pansini, 5 - 80131 Naples, Italy.

Abstract

The history of contact dermatitis (CD) is inseparable from the history of the patch test, and the patch test is inseparable from the pioneer in the field, Josef Jadassohn (1860-1936). Despite the fact that we have been diagnosing, treating, and investigating the condition for more than 100 years, there are still many unsolved questions and controversies, which show no signs of coming to an end in the foreseeable future. This contribution reviews and highlights some of the disagreements and discrepancies associated with CD. For example: • What is the real sensitizer in balsam of Peru, one of the most common allergens, and what, if any, is the value of a low-balsam diet? • Is benzalkonium chloride, which has well-known and undisputed irritant properties, a contact allergen as well? • Is cocamidopropyl betaine (CABP) a common contact allergen and what is the actual sensitizer in CABP allergy the molecule itself, or impurities, or intermediaries in its synthesis? • How can the significant differences in the prevalence of sensitization of formaldehyde (FA, a common cause of contact allergy) between the United States (8%-9%) and Europe (2%-3%) be explained? • What is the relationship between formaldehyde releasers (FRs) allergy and an FA allergy? Should we recommend that FA-allergic patients also avoid FRs, and, if so, to what extent? • What is the true frequency of lanolin allergy? This issue remains enigmatic despite the expenditure of thousands of dollars and the innumerable hours spent investigating this subject. • What is the basis behind the so-called "lanolin paradox"? This label was coined in 1996 and is still a matter of controversy. • Is there such a thing as systemic CD from nickel, and, if so, to what extent? Is there a cross-reactivity or concomitant sensitization between nickel and cobalt?These are some of the controversial problems discussed. We have selected the ones that we consider to be of special interest and importance to the practicing dermatologist.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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