Background: A scattered generalized distribution (SGD) of dermatitis is a challenging problem; patch testing is a strategy for evaluating allergic contact dermatitis as a relevant factor. Objective: We sought to analyze patient characteristics and most frequently relevant positive allergens in patients presenting for patch testing with SGD. Methods: We conducted retrospective cross-sectional analysis of North American Contact Dermatitis Group 2001 to 2004 data. Patients with SGD were compared with patients without SGD. Results: Of 10,061 patients, 14.9% (n = 1497) had only a SGD. Men and patients with a history of atopic eczema were more likely to have dermatitis in a SGD (P < .001). Preservatives, fragrances, propylene glycol, cocamidopropyl betaine, ethyleneurea melamine formaldehyde, tixocortol pivalate, and budesonide were among the more frequently relevant positive allergens. Top allergen sources included cosmetics/beauty preparations/skin and health care products, clothing, and topical corticoids. Limitations: This was a retrospective analysis of patch-tested patients with SGD suspected to have allergy. Conclusions: A total of 49% of patients with SGD had at least one relevant positive allergen, thus demonstrating the benefit of patch testing these patients.
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