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November 2013

Religion and the Skin: Devotional Dermatoses

Author Affiliations
  • 1Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(11):1322. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.6039

Various dermatologic conditions have been described in association with religious practices.1 Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) to potassium dichromate in leather straps of tefillin (phylacteries) is commonly reported in observant Jewish males who put on tefillin during morning prayer. Among Hindu women, ACD has been reported from bindi (the red adhesive disc worn on the forehead) and kumkum (red powder used for religious markings), and contact depigmentation has been reported from bindi’s adhesive (para-tertiary-butylphenol). A foreign body granuloma developed on the forehead of 4-year-old Hindu boy who wore his mother’s bindi for 8 months. ACD has also been reported from a wooden cross necklace worn by a Christian man and from ceremonial perfume used by a Muslim man.1

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