Background: many topical products are used in the genital region. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) may develop from product use or due to treatment of an underlying dermatosis.
Objectives: our goal was to identify the frequency of ACD and identify top allergens in the genital region.
Methods: data were analyzed for 1,238 patients tested between January 1990 and December 2006. Fifteen allergens caused reactions at rates greater than 1%. Thirteen anatomic regions were assessed. Statistical analyses were by chi-square test and Fisher exact test. Adjusted level of significance due to multiple testing was α = .002.
Results: of individuals with genital dermatitis (n = 37; aged 24-77 years, 48.6% female), 41% (15 of 37) had at least one positive patch-test result although only 30% (11 of 37) had a final diagnosis of relevant ACD. Mean age was 46 years for males and 41 years for females. The top five allergens were balsam of Peru (10.8%), fragrance mix I (8.1%), tolu balsam (8.1%), phenylmercuric acetate (8.1%), and neomycin (5.4%). Females were more often allergic (50%) compared to males (37%); 59.5% of patients had no positive reactions.
Conclusion: genital dermatitis is rare; the minority tested positively for ACD. The top five allergens were present in toiletries and cosmetics used on genital skin. The top three allergens are fragrance related, underscoring the importance of using fragrance-free products on mucosal skin.