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June 1969

Primary Irritant Dermatitis of the Scrotum Due to Hexachlorophene

Author Affiliations

London; Durham, England; London

From St. John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, and The London Hospital, London (Dr. Baker, Dr. Lloyd), and the Dryburn Hospital, Durham, England (Dr. Ive).

Arch Dermatol. 1969;99(6):693-696. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610240051008

Ten patients are described who experienced an acute episode of primary irritant contact dermatitis due to the use of the antiseptic hexachlorophene.

In nine instances, the dermatitis was confined to the scrotum. In the tenth patient, a child, the buttocks were involved. In all cases but one, the dermatitis was associated with the addition of a proprietary hexachlorophene concentrate to a daily bath. In one instance dermatitis was produced by the direct application of neat pHisoHex Skin Cleanser to the scrotal skin.

Scrotal dermatitis due to hexachlorophenemedicated baths seems to be due to the peculiar properties of a hexachlorophene-water-detergent system. Under certain circumstances, a hexachlorophene precipitate is formed which sinks to the bottom of the bath and adheres to the scrotal skin. The scrotum is particularly vulnerable because of its poor barrier resistance.