The Hardening Phenomenon in Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Cosmetic Implications

Nov 1, 2009 | Contact Author | By: Howard I. Maibach, MD, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco and Shannon A. Watkins, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital
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Title: The Hardening Phenomenon in Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Cosmetic Implications
irritant contact dermatitisx
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Keywords: irritant contact dermatitis

Abstract: Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is common and poses a significant problem in high risk populations including hairdressers, health care workers, metal-working professionals and cleaning specialists.

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Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is common and poses a significant problem in high risk populations including hairdressers, health care workers, metal- working professionals and cleaning specialists.1 In fact, as many as 35% of junior hairdressers develop ICD during their first year in training. Most cases of ICD are resolved in spite of continued exposure, allowing individuals to continue with their work. However, some cases develop into chronic ICD, which often manifests on the hands as red, dry, scaly and fissured skin.1

When ICD resolves without intervention, it transitions through a process known as hardening or accommodation. Generally, this self-resolving phenomenon is simply accepted amongst laborers and clinicians but its mechanism remains elusive. While extensive research and a textbook opine on the pathogenesis of irritant contact dermatitis and its related factors, research is sparse pertaining to factors that contribute to non-irritated and non-sensitive skin.2

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Table 1. Alterations in Hardened Skin

Alterations in Hardened Skin

Alterations in Hardened Skin

Figure 1. The variable course of ICD

The variable course of ICD

The variable course of ICD

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