Allergic contact dermatitis: Effect of age

Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco, CA, USA.
Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology (Impact Factor: 1.12). 07/2011; 31(1):20-5. DOI: 10.3109/15569527.2011.595749
Source: PubMed


The relationship between allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and age has not been well documented. We searched for articles and textbooks based on age-ACD relationship and evaluated relevant data. The frequency of skin reactions to allergens increased with age in some studies, whereas others showed no definite effect. This might be caused by variations in study design, genetic factors or by external influences such as from different regions and environmental exposure. In general, investigators agree that elderly patients were more likely to have multiple contact allergies than younger persons. This may be because of the frequent use of topical medicaments and having a longer time for potential allergen exposure. However, a review of marketed transdermal products for ACD shows a very low incidence, and no age-related effects were reported. One exception to this low incidence of ACD is the transdermal product, Catapres-TTS(®) (clonidine), which has a reported incidence rate of ~16%. The generally low incidence of ACD in marketed products and the conflicting findings in the prevalence of specific age-related ACD indicate the need for further investigation as to the proclivity for developing new sensitivities with age.

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