Common Causes of Pediatric Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Doug Brunk

July 31, 2020

The top three contact allergens in patients younger than 18 years of age are hydroperoxides of linalool, nickel sulfate, and methylisothiazolinone, according to an analysis of data from the Pediatric Allergic Contact Dermatitis Registry.

The registry is the first multicenter prospective database in the United States with a focus on pediatric allergic contact dermatitis. JiaDe (Jeff) Yu, MD, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, was awarded a Dermatology Foundation Career Development Grant and formed the registry in 2018 "in an effort to gain a better understanding of allergic contact dermatitis in children," Idy Tam, MS, said during the virtual annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology. "There is currently limited data regarding the pediatric allergic contact dermatitis in the U.S., despite as many as 20% of children having allergic contact dermatitis."

To date, the Pediatric Allergic Contact Dermatitis Registry consists of 10 academic medical centers with high volume pediatric patch testing across the United States: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; the University of Missouri–Columbia; Stanford (Calif.) University; the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; Texas Children's Hospital, Houston; Northwestern University, Chicago; Emory University, Atlanta; Washington University, St. Louis; and the University of California, San Diego.

For the current analysis, Ms. Tam, a research fellow in the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues collected data on 218 patients under age 18 who were referred for an evaluation of allergic contact dermatitis at one of the 10 participating sites between January 2016 and June 2020.

The mean age of children at the time of their patch testing was 10 years, 62% were girls, and 66% had a history of atopic dermatitis (AD). Most (75%) were White, 14% were Black, 6% were Asian, the rest were from other racial backgrounds. The distribution of dermatitis varied; the top five most commonly affected sites were the face (62%), arms (35%), legs (29%), hands (27%), and neck (20%).

Ms. Tam reported that the mean number of allergens patch tested per child was 78. In all, 81% of children had one or more positive patch test reactions, with a similar rate among those with and without a history of AD (80% vs. 82%, respectively; P = .21). The five most common allergens were hydroperoxides of linalool (22%), nickel sulfate (19%), methylisothiazolinone (17%), cobalt chloride (13%), and fragrance mix I (12%).

The top two treatments at the time of patch testing were a topical corticosteroid (78%) and a topical calcineurin inhibitor (26%).

"This study has allowed for the increased collaboration among dermatologists with expertise in pediatric dermatology and allergic contact dermatitis," concluded Ms. Tam, a fourth-year medical student at Tufts University, Boston. "We continue to actively seek further collaboration with a goal of creating the most comprehensive pediatric allergic contact dermatitis registry, which can improve our understanding of this condition in children and hopefully guide future research in this field."

The work was recognized as one of the top poster abstracts at the meeting. The researchers reported having no relevant disclosures.

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