Diagnosis and Treatment of Dermatitis Due to Formaldehyde Resins in Clothing

Ryan M. Carlson; Mary C. Smith; Susan T. Nedorost


Dermatitis. 2004;15(4):169-175. 

In This Article


Patch testing with formaldehyde is a fair marker for textile resins, and positive results in a patient with rash in a textile distribution should raise suspicion and prompt further textile resin testing. This is especially true if the dermatitis in areas of textile contact does not resolve following the avoidance of formaldehyde releasers in personal care products. It is important to understand that although patch-test reactions to these resins may be weak and late, they are clinically significant. Patch testing with Fixapret AC and Fixapret CPN most often detected textile allergies. Educating patients about textile-related dermatitis is difficult, and the lack of clear labeling on clothing adds to the problem. Generally speaking, clothing from companies that market from Japan are safe. Our data suggest that individuals who may have been occupationally sensitized in the past are now cross-reacting to the textile resins. We believe the gender gap has closed significantly and that men now react to the textile finishes on patch testing with a frequency at least equal to that of women.

Allergic contact dermatitis from textile resins is greatly underdiagnosed. However, with a higher index of suspicion clinically and proper patch testing, more patients with this condition can be identified. Proper treatment, along with patient education and follow-up support, can improve the lives of those suffering with this condition.

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