Trends of common contact sensitizers in tandem with increased hair dye dermatitis in Shimla, a sub-Himalayan region: a study of 521 patients

Ghanshyam K. Verma, Saru Thakur, Gita Ram Tegta, Ajeet K. Negi, Saurabh Sharma, Prajul Mehta


Background: Skin is exposed to a vast variety of chemicals, organic or biological products among fashion seeking community of today’s world. This put them at risk of contact sensitization. Rapid industrialization, westernization of the society and poor labeling laws of cosmetics put us to the threat of “contact sensitization explosion” in near future. To know the drift of common contact sensitizers in the region, patch testing provides an insight into the cause of allergic contact dermatitis. The objective of the study was to determine the commonest allergen responsible for allergic contact dermatitis among patients attending contact dermatitis clinic in a tertiary care hospital.

Methods: This retrospective study was conducted in the Department of Dermatology of our institution. We reviewed the medical records of all patients who were patch tested over a period of 6 years, using Indian standard series.

Results: A total of 521 patients who were patch tested in the contact dermatitis clinic were included in the study. Nine patients with angry back were excluded. There were 269 males and 243 females. The commonest provisional diagnosis was allergic contact dermatitis secondary to hair dye in 172 (33.3%) patients followed by air borne contact dermatitis to parthenium in 88 (17.3%) patients. The paraphenylenediamine (PPD) being the most common sensitizer in 92 (17.9%) patients was followed by nickel in 86 (16.7%) patients, potassium dichromate in 36 (7%), parthenium in 32 (6%) and fragrance mix in 31 (6%) patients.

Conclusions: This study revealed higher prevalence of hair dye dermatitis. Paraphenylenediamine was the most common allergen.


Allergic contact dermatitis, Hair dye, Parthenium, Nickel, Dichromate, PPD, Patch test

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