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Religion and the Skin: Devotional Dermatoses

Barry Ladizinski, MD1; Kachiu C. Lee, MD, MPH2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
2Department of Dermatology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(11):1322. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.6039.
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Various dermatologic conditions have been described in association with religious practices.1 Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) to potassium dichromate in leather straps of tefillin (phylacteries) is commonly reported in observant Jewish males who put on tefillin during morning prayer. Among Hindu women, ACD has been reported from bindi (the red adhesive disc worn on the forehead) and kumkum (red powder used for religious markings), and contact depigmentation has been reported from bindi’s adhesive (para-tertiary-butylphenol). A foreign body granuloma developed on the forehead of 4-year-old Hindu boy who wore his mother’s bindi for 8 months. ACD has also been reported from a wooden cross necklace worn by a Christian man and from ceremonial perfume used by a Muslim man.1

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