Published on Feb 10, 2011 with 47 comments
There have been a “rash” of reports linking allergic contact dermatitis to the use of cell phones, especially among teenagers.
Allergy to the nickel alloy found in most metals is the most common cause of contact allergy. Nickel allergy has been estimated to occur in 18.8% of all individuals, and 17-33% in the pediatric population. Nickel alloy can be found many metal objects in which we come in contact with on a daily basis, including metal jewelry, zippers, belt buckles, musical instruments and, yes, cell phones. Cell phones with fashionable designs are commonly manufactured with metallic accents containing nickel.
Contact of the metal to the skin can cause allergic sensitization and the development of a rash which is typically red and very itchy. The resultant facial or auricular dermatitis most commonly presents on one side of the face, typically on the cheek or ear. Treatment includes covering the cell phone to prevent direct content of the metal to the skin and the use of hydrocortisone cream.