What is the role of kumkum in the etiology of Riehl melanosis (pigmented contact dermatitis)?

Updated: May 27, 2021
  • Author: Elizabeth K Satter, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Cases of pigmented contact dermatitis have been reported in the Indian literature, and the most common allergen to be implicated is kumkum, a colored cosmetic used by Hindu women that is applied most often to the central forehead and along the hair line. [7, 27] Only commercially available red kumkum can sensitize and cause pigmented contact dermatitis. Components of kumkum include azo dyes, coal tar dyes, toludine red, erythrosine, lithal red calcium salt, fragrances, tumeric powder, groundnut oil, tragacanth gum, Cananga oil, and parabens. [7]

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