BACKGROUND: Allergic contact dermatitis is a common dermatologic disorder caused by small chemical molecules that can penetrate the skin barrier. Thousands of chemicals capable of inducing allergic contact dermatitis have been identified. To cure allergic contact dermatitis, the allergen should be identified and eliminated from the environment of the patient. Patch testing, utilizing a variety of standard panels of the most frequent allergens, is used to identify the allergen in question. Patch testing is still the gold standard tool used to identify one or more substances that may contribute to the etiology of allergic contact dermatitis. OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of patch test positivity and to identify the most common allergens in patients with suspected allergic contact dermatitis. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of files of 103 patients who have been clinically diagnosed to have allergic contact dermatitis and have been patch tested using a standard technique with a Northern American Contact Dermatitis Group series. RESULTS: Sixty-two patients (60.2%) showed positive reactions to one or more substance. The most common allergens were nickel sulfate, fragrance mix, and neomycin sulfate. There was an increased frequency of positive reactions to fragrance mix and a significant decrease of frequency of thimerosal positive reactions. CONCLUSIONS: Increased awareness of allergens and their potential sources may help to limit the usage of these chemicals in manufacturing consumer products. This may have contributed to decreased prevalence rates of certain allergens such as thimerosal and paraphenylenediamine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy