Objectives: To determine the 12-month prevalence of hand dermatitis among massage therapists, to investigate a potential association between hand dermatitis and the use of aromatherapy products, and to study potential associations with other known risk factors for hand dermatitis.
Design: Mailed survey.
Setting: Philadelphia, Pa.
Participants: Members of a national massage therapy organization who live in the greater Philadelphia region.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported and symptom-based prevalences of hand dermatitis.
Results: The number of respondents was 350 (57%). The 12-month prevalence of hand dermatitis in subjects was 15% by self-reported criteria and 23% by a symptom-based method. In multivariate analysis, statistically significant independent risk factors for self-reported hand dermatitis included use of aromatherapy products in massage oils, lotions, or creams (odds ratio, 3.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.53-7.02; P =.002) and history of atopic dermatitis (odds ratio, 8.06; 95% confidence interval, 3.39-19.17; P<.001).
Conclusions: The prevalence of hand dermatitis in massage therapists is high. Significant independent risk factors include use of aromatherapy products in massage oils, creams, or lotions and history of atopic dermatitis.