Genital allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is an uncommon disorder, yet it severely impairs the quality of life for both men and women. Because of cultural taboos, many patients self-treat and delay proper diagnosis before presenting to a provider. Diagnosis is further confounded by irritant contact dermatitis and other genital dermatoses, which can predispose to skin barrier dysfunction and allergen penetration. Genital ACD can present acutely with erythematous erosions and pruritus or chronically with lichenification. Patch testing helps determine the diagnosis and provide relief for the patient. Topical medications, including local anesthetics and corticosteroids, are the most common genital allergens. Other typical allergens include fragrances, preservatives, adhesives, dyes, and rubber products. Less commonly considered allergens include herbs, spices, and topical vehicle components. Here, we review the most common allergens for both men and women, discuss important patch-testing panels, and recommend safe products for patients with genital ACD.
From the *The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences; and
†Department of Dermatology, The George Washington Medical Faculty Associates, Washington, DC.
Address reprint requests to Alison Ehrlich, MD, MHS, Department of Dermatology, The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, 2150 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 2B-430, Washington, DC 20037. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
O.A.'s fellowship is funded by Janssen Biotech, Inc. The other authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.