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Interdigital dermatitis: sentinel skin damage in hairdressers

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In the course of a cohort study, 2275 hairdressing apprentices were examined a median of 6 weeks after the start of their training in the years 1992, 1993 and 1994. Skin changes were noted in 821 (36%). The site most often affected was the interdigital web space (664 of those with skin changes: 81%). The proportion of participants with a high atopy score and previous hand and flexural dermatitis was larger in the subset with interdigital dermatitis than in healthy persons, but was particularly elevated in those affected by dermatitis involving other sites. Interdigital dermatitis can be regarded as a potential precursor of more severe hand dermatitis in hairdressers, and probably of irritant hand dermatitis in wet work occupations in general. Thus, it is an important ‘sentinel’ for secondary prevention, e.g. regular and thorough application of emollients.
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Keywords: hairdressers; irritant contact dermatitis; occupational skin disease

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health Theory, University of Osnabrück, Sedanstraße 115, D-49069 Osnabrück, Germany

Publication date: May 1, 2000

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