Current acceptance and implementation of preventive strategies for occupational hand eczema in 1355 metalworkers in Germany.

Research paper by B B Kütting, W W Weistenhöfer, T T Baumeister, W W Uter, H H Drexler

Indexed on: 07 May '09Published on: 07 May '09Published in: British Journal of Dermatology


The effectiveness of a skin care programme is based mainly on the effectiveness of the products used and the frequency and diligence of the application of skin care products.The present cross-sectional study was aimed at evaluating the implementation and acceptance of generally recommended skin protective means at the workplace.We included in our study 1355 metalworkers, employed in 19 factories, mainly of small or medium-size. The majority of participants were male (96.7%, n = 1310). The investigation included a standardized interview and a dermatological examination of the hands.More than half of all participants (52.4%) had suffered from skin problems of the hands at some time. Three hundred and ninety-six subjects (29%) indicated they followed the skin protection regimen as it was generally recommended, i.e. the use of barrier creams in combination with moisturizers. A similar number of participants (28%) denied any use of protective creams. In general, compliance in men was significantly poorer than in women. Participants with past or present history of hand eczema used both barrier creams and moisturizers significantly more often. The skin condition of the hands, examined using a quantitative score, did not differ significantly in the four subgroups defined by different skin protection measures. While acceptance of protective measures was limited, these were available in all factories.Although barrier creams and moisturizers are highly recommended as effective means to prevent irritant contact dermatitis in Germany, our data prove that the compliance of application in this group at special risk for hand eczema is extremely low.