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March 2, 1957


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Department of Dermatology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Dermatology Service, Presbyterian Hospital.

JAMA. 1957;163(9):740-741. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.82970440009011

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The term "cosmetic dermatitis" refers to an eruption that results from contact of the skin with a cosmetic preparation.

Mechanism  A dermatitis from cosmetics may be caused in one of three ways:

  1. It may result from the direct chemical or physical irritation of normal, nonsensitized skin by an ingredient in the cosmetic. Such a primary cutaneous irritant causes a dermatitis by its action at the site of contact without the need for a previous sensitizing exposure. In sufficient concentration it will produce a dermatitis in practically anyone exposed to its action for a sufficient length of time. Also included here are greasy cosmetics, which may cause pustule formation by blocking the pilosebaceous apparatus or miliaria by plugging the sweat pores.

  2. It may be caused by an otherwise harmless ingredient to which the skin becomes allergic. The true cutaneous sensitizer usually does not produce a dermatitis on initial contact

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