Allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde in a liquid soap
Alexander Zemtsov, MDAddress reprint requests to A.Z., Department of Dermatology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, One Clinic Center, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195.
James S. Taylor, MD
Phyllis Evey, RN
Jacob Dijkstra, MD
A case is reported of a 74-year-old white man who developed generalized allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde present in a liquid soap. The patient had a 2 + positive patch test reaction to formaldehyde, which was present as a preservative in the soap at 0.1% concentration. His dermatitis cleared when he switched to a nonformaldehyde-containing bar soap. The cause of the contact dermatitis was covert to both physician and patient before patch testing. Since registration with the Food and Drug Administration of formaldehyde-containing soaps is voluntary, it is likely that there are more soaps on the market than the six registered as of June 1988.