Allergic Contact Dermatitis Associated With Religious Practices: Review of the Literature

Dermatitis. 2023 Sep-Oct;34(5):387-391. doi: 10.1089/derm.2022.29014.ahu. Epub 2023 Jan 19.


Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) may occur secondary to devotional practices in various religions. A systematic review of PubMed was conducted from inception of database to September 9, 2022. Key terms were "contact dermatitis" or "devotional dermatosis" in association with major world religions including "Christianity," "Islam," "Hinduism," "Buddhism," "Sikhism," and "Judaism." Inclusion criteria were determined by presence of a religious practice and associated ACD. Articles referencing other cutaneous reactions such as chemical leukoderma were excluded. In total, 36 of 102 unique articles identified met inclusion criteria. Twenty-two articles referenced Hinduism, 8 referenced Judaism, 5 referenced Islam, 3 referenced Christianity, and 1 article each mentioned Buddhism and Sikhism. Four articles referenced multiple religions. Para-phenylenediamine was the most common contact allergen overall and is found in blackening ingredients mixed with henna for temporary tattoos. Henna tattooing is a cultural practice associated with Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Nine unique contact allergens associated with religious practices were identified. Increasing awareness of religious practices that cause ACD will facilitate culturally competent dermatological care.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Buddhism
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact* / etiology
  • Hinduism*
  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Judaism


  • lawsone