Millions of people handle rosary beads constantly, but to my knowledge there have been no reports of dermatitis resulting from this practice.
A 36-year-old white woman first noted a rash on the index finger and thumb of her right hand about two months ago. This rash was well-marginated and involved the terminal joint section of the palmar-lateral part of the right index finger and the palmar tip of the right thumb. Within a few weeks, the patient developed a similar eruption on the same areas of the left hand. The eruption remained more marked on the right hand. The skin of the involved areas itched, burned, felt hot, split, and bled. The patient was advised to wear rubber gloves when using her hands and to avoid the use of soap and water, and she was given a variety of local medications, with only slight benefit.
The picture was
RUBIN A. Dermatitis of the Fingers from Rosary Beads. AMA Arch Derm. 1958;77(6):732. doi:10.1001/archderm.1958.01560060098022
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