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Year : 1994  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 144-145

Contact sensitivity to toilet soaps

Correspondence Address:
Y C Minocha

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Out of 200 patients suspected to be suffering from contact dermatitis due to toilet soaps, patch tests were found to be positive in 158 patients (79%). The contact sensitivity was more frequently seen with perfumed soaps (48%) followed by non perfumed ordinary soaps (32%), glycerin soaps (8.2%), Herbal soaps (5.0%), antiseptic soaps (4.4%) and baby (1.2%), predominently in females (80%); majority of them belonging to age group of 21-40 yrs.

Keywords: Contact sensitivity, Toilet soaps

How to cite this article:
Minocha Y C, Sood V K, Dogra A. Contact sensitivity to toilet soaps. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1994;60:144-5

How to cite this URL:
Minocha Y C, Sood V K, Dogra A. Contact sensitivity to toilet soaps. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1994 [cited 2020 Dec 5];60:144-5. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Although, soaps by themselves are considered to be non sensitizers but their ingradients e.g. lanoline, perfumes, colouring agents, antiseptics and colophony may act as allergens. [1] Contact dermtitis due to a toilet soap can involve entire skin surface predominantly involving body folds or hands. In a survey conducted at various centres in India; ordinary bathing soaps were found to elicit positive patch tests in approximately 25% persons against 10% positivity with a glycerin soap. [2]

This study was conducted to assess the relative sensitivity of various types of commonly used toilet soaps in India; categorized as perfumed soaps, non perfumed ordinary soaps, glycerine soaps, antiseptic soaps, herbal soaps and baby soaps.

  Materials and Methods Top

Unselected 200 patients, suspected to be suffering from contact dermatitis due to toilet soaps attending contact dermatitis clinic of out patients department of dermatology at Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana were the subjects for this study. A detailed history and examination of each patient was recorded with particular reference to types of toilet soap used by them and distribution pattern of dermatitis. All the patients were subjected to patch tests with various categories of toilet soaps mentioned above using 1.0% solution of soaps and 0.5% sodium hydroxide solution as per recommendations and procedures described by Pasricha. [2]

  Results Top

Out of 200 patients tested 158 patients showed positivity of patch tests with various toilet soaps being more frequent in females (female to male ratio: 4.1: 1); majority of them (70%) belonging to age group of 21-40 yrs. Perfumed soaps and ordinary soaps showed positivity of patch tests in a large number of patients as compared to glycerine soaps and other types of soaps [Table - 1]. Sodium hydroxide (0.5%) did not elicit positive patch test in any of the patients.

  Comments Top

This study indicates that perfumed and ordinary toilet soaps have more sensitizing potential as compared to glycerine soaps, antiseptic soaps and baby soaps.

The finding of lesser sesitizing potential of glycerine soap (8.2%) agrees with the earlier reports of a survey conducted at various centres in India . [2] In addition, this study further highlights that herbal soaps and antiseptic soaps also have lesser potentials of sensitization and baby soaps are least offending agents, which can be safely recommended by the dermatologists, who are often sought an opinion regarding choice of soaps by their patients.

  References Top

1.Cronin E. Contact dermatitis. 1st edn. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1980; 814-5.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Pasricha JS. Contact Dermatitis in India, 2nd edn. New Delhi: Department of Science and Technology, 1988  Back to cited text no. 2    


[Table - 1]


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