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Cutaneous Toxicology

Target Organ and Tissue Toxicity

  1. Steven J. Hermansky MS, PharmD, PhD, DABT Director of Toxicology

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat065

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Hermansky, S. J. 2009. Cutaneous Toxicology. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, ConAgra Foods, Inc, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


The skin is the largest organ of the body. It serves many functions one of which is protection from the outside world, including chemical and microbiological insults. Skin ailments represent one of the most common complaints of patients in medical settings and account for significant loss of productivity in the workplace. Cutaneous toxicity from chemical exposures is responsible for many of these complaints. Skin reactions to chemicals often appear similar, but have many biological causes, including chemical irritation and sensitization (allergies). A primary goal of the cutaneous toxicologist is to predict the potential irritant and/or sensitization potential of chemicals. This chapter summarizes the varied effects that chemicals may have on the skin, including acute and chronic conditions. The chapter also describes the multiple methods to predict potential cutaneous chemical hazards that may be produced in the workplace or via consumer exposure to topical drugs and cosmetics. Important human, animal and in vitro methods to predict a chemical hazard are described.


  • skin irritation;
  • skin sensitization;
  • phototoxicity;
  • photoallergy;
  • animal testing;
  • human testing;
  • dermis;
  • epidermis;
  • patch testing;
  • local lymph node assay;
  • dermatitis;
  • chloracne