Q: I am a Ukrainian woman, a hairstylist and 33 years old. I have developed severely itchy inflamed scaly patches on both my hands, wrists and lower forearms.
I suspect you could be having allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). A vast majority of cosmetics and haircare products, including hair dyes, contain many of such ingredients that have the potential to cause ACD. It seems quite obvious that during your professional work you must be getting exposed to these ingredients. On top of my suspicion list will be the use of hair dyes for your clients. Most of the hair colouring products contain Para-Phenylenediamine (PPD) as an integral component – PPD is a common cause of ACD reactions/rashes seen on the skin of hair dye users and stylists.
Usually ACD lesions are seen confined to the area of application of the so-called culprit (allergen-containing chemical); however in many cases it can spread to distant body areas as well through an exaggerated immunosensitivity, as such causing widespread skin rashes.
In your case, my advice is to switch your profession if possible. Even mild contact or exposures can continue to ignite the ongoing immunosensitivity and activation of pre-existing skin lesions. As a compromise, start wearing elbow-length plastic gloves with cotton inner lining during your working hours.
You must also consult an experienced and skilled dermatologist.
For now, frequent applications of thick emollients will help you to find some temporary relief.
Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is a specialist dermatologist and medical director at Dermacare Dubai. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.