Background The exact incidence of textile dermatitis is unknown because of the lack of controlled epidemiological studies. Nevertheless, the increasing frequency of contact dermatitis to clothing has been demonstrated, thus indicating the importance of further investigations in this field.
Objective To analyse the results from a 4-year prospective study of the clinical and aetiological features of contact dermatitis to textiles in Israel. We also aimed to assess the frequency and relevance of sensitization to textile dyes and resins in these patients.
Methods Six hundred and forty-four patients (441 female and 203 male), referred for the investigation of contact dermatitis, and suspected of having textile allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), were studied. All patients were patch tested with the standard series (TRUE Tests), textile colour and finish series (TCFS) clothing extracts and pieces of garment in some cases. Readings were performed on days 2, 3 and in many patients also on day 7.
Results Eighty-three patients (12.9%) had an allergic reactions to a dye and/or resin allergen. Of them, 43 (51.8%) had positive patch tests to the textile dye allergens, 28 (33.7%) to the formaldehyde and textile finish resins and 12 (14.4%) to allergens from both groups. The highest incidence of sensitization from the dye group allergens was due to Disperse Blue (DB) 124 (30.6%), DB 106 (27.0%) and DB 85 (8.1%) and from the resin group to melamine formaldehyde and ethyleneurea melamine formaldehyde (20.7% each) and urea formaldehyde (18.3%). Present relevance of the patch tests was found in 81.4% of the cases. Concomitant sensitization with allergens from the standard series included nickel sulphate, potassium dichromate, formaldehyde, rubber additives and others. Although chronic dermatitis was the typical clinical presentation, less frequent forms such as purpuric, hyperpigmented and papulopustular lesions and atypical forms such as erythema multiforme-like, nummular-like lesions, lichenification and erythrodermia were observed in 24.4% of the cases. The atypical manifestations were provoked by sensitization to dye allergens and never to resins. Along with the typical distribution in areas of friction on the trunk and extremities, less frequent areas including the hands, face, genital area and the soles were affected too.
Conclusions In view of the increasing frequency of contact dermatitis to clothing, the clinical assessment should include awareness of the classical as well as the unusual and atypical clinical forms and locations of ACD to textiles, for they are not infrequent. Although dyes and among them DB 106 and DB 124 are the most frequent allergens inducing textile dermatitis, concomitant testing with allergens from the textile dyes and resin groups is recommended when investigating patients with textile dermatitis.