Contact dermatitis due to nail polish probably is more common than the number of reported cases indicates. The 5 cases reported here illustrate the necessity for considering nail polish as a cause of dermatitis on the eyelids, face, neck and arms. Even though the patient has used the polish for years with impunity, it may still be the contact irritant.
Silver and Chiego1 attempted to sensitize guinea pigs to nail lacquers without success. Five thousand patch tests with nail lacquers and various constituents of the finished product resulted in negative reactions to the finished enamels and some plus-minus to "1 plus reactions" to certain dyes. They suggested that the other ingredients protected the skin from the dyes. Silver and Chiego found the report of only 1 case on nail lacquer dermatitis, but from the random statements in the literature they inferred that nail lacquers are possible causative agents for
Ellis FA, Kirby-Smith H. CONTACT DERMATITIS DUE TO NAIL POLISH. JAMA. 1941;116(1):45–47. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.62820010001012
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