Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a pungent odor that is widely used as a preservative in toiletries and cosmetics and in products for household and industrial use. Both formaldehyde itself and substances that can release it are a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis. This condition often becomes chronic, given that these allergens are found nearly everywhere and it is difficult for patients to avoid them completely. This article reviews the sources of exposure to formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers and the clinical manifestations of allergen exposure. We also review current debates and recent developments and propose guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with formaldehyde contact dermatitis.
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