Facial dermatitis may result from allergic or irritant contact dermatitis, from endogenous conditions such as atopic or seborrheic dermatitis, or a combination of contributing factors.
To determine the final diagnoses in patients referred for evaluation of facial dermatitis, and the relevant allergens in those ultimately diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).
A retrospective chart analysis of all patients patch tested for evaluation of facial dermatitis in an Occupational and Contact Dermatitis referral clinic over a 2-year period from October 1995 to October 1997.
Of the 383 patients patch tested, 85 (22%) had facial dermatitis. Of these 85 patients, 55 (65%) had spotty or diffuse facial involvement, 21 (25%) had only eyelid involvement, and in 9 (10%) only the lips were involved. Final diagnoses were relatively equally distributed among three categories: one third had ACD, one third had ACD with other contributing factors, and one third had diagnoses other than ACD. Among patients with ACD, the most common relevant allergens were personal care products, preservatives, and fragrances.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a frequent cause of facial dermatitis in a referral dermatology clinic. However, in up to two thirds of patients, other diagnoses represent either the primary process or a major component contributing to the eruption. Personal care products, preservatives, and fragrances represent the most common relevant allergens in those diagnosed with ACD. A significant number of relevant reactions would be missed if only the TRUE test standard series were used.