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Natural vegetable fats in the prevention of irritant contact dermatitis



Chronic irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is one of the most pressing problems in occupational medicine and is common in the food processing industry. To date, protective creams that fulfil the special requirements in the foodstuffs industry have not been available. Therefore, we studied the efficacy of pre-exposure application of natural vegetable fats in the prevention of experimentally induced ICD. A panel of 20 healthy volunteers was tested with a repetitive irritation test using sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) as a standard irritant in a randomized study. Application sites were assessed clinically and by the use of bioengineering techniques (evaporimetry, chromametry, and corneometry). Rape seed and palm fats showed significant protective potential. Gas-chromatographic analysis revealed differences in the fatty acid composition of the vegetable. Higher content of linoleic acid and lower content of oleic acid was associated with beneficial effects. Our results are a new approach in the prevention of ICD and towards the development of new protective preparations for workplaces in the foodstuffs industry.