Hair-care practices in African American women: potential for allergic contact dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction that occurs when the skin is re-exposed to a substance to which it was previously sensitized. One significant source of exposure to sensitizing chemicals is through personal grooming and beauty products. While the role of cosmetics and hair-care products in the development of ACD is well-documented, there has been very little literature that specifically addresses the role of hair-care practices of patients with tightly curled hair, such as in patients of African descent, in the development of ACD in this population. This review provides an integrated summary of the hair-care practices of female African American patients and the potential for exposure to sensitizing agents at each stage. This review will also discuss the challenges faced in recognizing and assessing ACD in these patients.