Cutaneous sensitivity to mercury and its compounds is relatively frequent. However, its manifestation two years after a tattoo was made, as in the case described, seems unique and warrants this report. My search of the literature does not reveal any exactly similar case.
P. Unna, Jr.,1 in 1930, reported the case of a 63 year old man who had been tattooed in his youth and who acquired syphilis at the age of 43. In the treatment for this disease he received mercurial inunctions, which gave no trouble. Following dermatitis induced by the application of mercury for the treatment of hemorrhoids, itching, swelling and vesicles ranging in size from that of a pinhead to that of a pea developed in the red (cinnabar?) part of the tattoo. The india ink part of the tattoo was unaffected. A patch test made with mercurial plaster gave a positive reaction.
BALLIN DB. CUTANEOUS HYPERSENSITIVITY TO MERCURY FROM TATTOOING: REPORT OF A CASE. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1933;27(2):292–294. doi:10.1001/archderm.1933.01450040297010
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