• endogenous factors;
  • ethnicity;
  • irritant contact dermatitis;
  • irritation;
  • man;
  • race

Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is a common dermatological diagnosis in which endogenous and exogenous factors have been implicated. This review explores ethnicity as a possible endogenous factor. While there is a clinical consensus that blacks are less reactive and Asians are more reactive than Caucasians, the data supporting this hypothesis rarely reaches statistical significance. The studies reviewed do not provide sufficient evidence to determine that race is a predisposing factor to the degree of irritation in ICD. We conclude that race could be a factor in ICD, which has practical consequences regarding topical product testing requirements, an ever-expanding global market, occupational risk assessment, and the clinical thinking about ICD. Pitfalls in defining differences are discussed.