OBJECTIVES--To determine the prevalence, clinical features, and patterns of hand dermatosis in hairdressers in Tainan, Taiwan, and to examine the associations between patterns of dermatosis and risk factors such as job description, work exposure, and sensitisation to common allergens. METHODS--Interviews, examinations, and patch tests of the hairdressers from nine hairdressing stores randomly selected from Tainan City. Patch test agents included 41 substances with common allergens, shampoo preservatives, hair dyes, permanent waving and bleaching agents. RESULTS--98 hairdressers finished the examination, 83% of them had occupational dermatosis and 32% had scissor induced scars or wounds. Most of the dermatoses belonged to either dry metacarpophalangeal dermatitis or eczema of the fingers. 44% of the hairdressers showed positive skin reaction to one or more patch test agents. The patch test results were different from previous reports in that the most common allergens were nickel, thimerosal, Captan, Kathon CG, and fragrance mix, and that the sensitivity to hair dye and permanent wave ingredients were low. The dry metacarpophalangeal dermatitis was associated with exposure to shampoo, and the eczema of the fingers with skin sensitivity to patch test agents. CONCLUSION--Hairdressers in Tainan City had a high prevalence of dermatoses including traumatic wounds, and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis. The rates of sensitivity to some of the common sensitising agents were different from previous reports.
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