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Keywords:

  • allergic contact dermatitis;
  • bath additives;
  • benzalkonium chloride;
  • flexural eczema;
  • irritant contact dermatitis

Summary

Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is an acknowledged irritant but has also been identified as a cause of allergic contact dermatitis. The antiseptic bath emollient Oilatum® Plus (Stiefel, High Wycombe, U.K.) contains a relatively high concentration of 6% BAK. We describe six patients who presented with flexural eczema, particularly involving the anogenital area, who had a history of using Oilatum® Plus. Patch testing showed all six to have a type 4 allergy to BAK as well as other allergens. Avoidance of Oilatum® Plus led to a resolution of the flexural eczema in each case.