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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2014, Article ID 316219, 9 pages
Research Article

Cosmetic Contact Sensitivity in Patients with Melasma: Results of a Pilot Study

Department of Dermatology, Venereology & Leprosy, Dr. R. P. Govt. Medical College, Kangra, Tanda, Himachal Pradesh 176001, India

Received 10 May 2014; Accepted 29 June 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Craig G. Burkhart

Copyright © 2014 Neel Prabha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Some of the patients with melasma perhaps have pigmented cosmetic dermatitis. However, cosmetic contact sensitivity in melasma remains poorly studied particularly in the Indian context. Objectives. To study cosmetic contact sensitivity in patients with melasma. Materials and Methods. 67 (F : M = 55 : 12) consecutive patients with melasma between 19 and 49 years of age were patch tested sequentially during January–December, 2012, with Indian Cosmetic and Fragrance Series, Indian Sunscreen Series, p-phenylenediamine, and patient’s own cosmetic products. Results. 52 (78%) patients were in the age group of 20–40 years. The duration of melasma varied from 1 month to 20 years. Centrofacial, malar, and mandibular patterns were observed in 48 (72%), 18 (27%), and 1 (1%) patients, respectively. Indian Cosmetics and Fragrance Series elicited positive reactions in 29 (43.3%) patients. Cetrimide was the most common contact sensitizers eliciting positivity in 15 (52%) patients, followed by gallate mix in 9 (31%) patients and thiomersal in 7 (24%) patients. Only 2 of the 42 patients showed positive reaction from their own cosmetics while the other 5 patients had irritant reaction. Indian Sunscreen Series did not elicit any positive reaction. Conclusion. Cosmetics contact sensitivity appears as an important cause of melasma not associated with pregnancy, lactation, or hormone therapy.