Surprisingly little is known at the present time of the actual mechanism of the action of soap on the skin. It is obvious that accurate knowledge of such a commonly used material would be of great practical value. Increasing interest in contact dermatitis has brought forth many questions about the rôle of soaps in the development of this condition. There is a vast amount of misinformation available chiefly through the all too powerful medium of propaganda advertising.
Clinical analyses of soap reactions are being made at the present time, chiefly through dermatologists. This is done by means of the patch test, controlled carefully. In 1928 Hazen1 found eight cases of allergic dermatitis due to soap in a series of 127 patients. In his detailed studies of the patch test in 1931 Stauffer2 mentioned soaps and asserted that most of the eczematoid reactions to patch tests with soap solutions
GOLDMAN L. THE SKIN REACTIONS OF INFANTS AND CHILDREN TO SOAPS. JAMA. 1937;108(16):1317–1320. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780160009003
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