Occupational Skin Disease – Introduction and Common Examples


Occupational skin disease is extremely common but very few workers actually realize the direct connection between what they do and their dermatological problems. In this post, we will quickly go through some of the most common examples of occupational skin disease with verifiable roots. Let’s get started with an introduction first.

What is Occupational Skin Disease?

Occupational skin disease refers to any dermatological conditions that originate from work-related hazards. All such skin conditions are broadly classified under three major groups:

  1. Irritant Contact Dermatitis
  2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis
  3. Unspecified Occupation Skin Diseases

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis is quite different from what we generally understand as dermatitis or allergic rashes. The rashes are not a result of misfiring immunologic responses, but rather a consequence of direct skin exposure to harmful agents.

Irritant contact dermatitis is common when a worker’s skin is exposed to harsh chemicals on the job and the exposed part is physically and often continuously damaged due to the contact. Chemical burns and occupational contact urticaria are two of the most examples of irritant contact dermatitis.

These are by far the most common types of occupational skin conditions that are reported every year. Although long-term damage is very rare, chemical burns can leave unaesthetic scars on the skin.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is the second most common group of occupational skin diseases. It occurs when a worker comes into direct skin contact with a contact allergen at work. The worker’s immune system misreads the skin contact as a cause for alarm and overreacts in its attempt to protect the skin.

As a result, hives, severe irritation, and itching sensations will soon commence. Note that the contact allergen does not physically damage the worker’s skin in any way. Therefore, only a handful of workers who have innate allergies to that specific substance will experience it from that specific substance.

READ: What Is The Occupational Health And Safety Act

Since it’s an immunologic response, it is possible that the resulting allergies may spread to other sections of the skin and indirectly exacerbate other skin conditions. For example, acne is aggravated by skin irritation and contact dermatitis irritates the skin to no end. frequent bouts of allergic contact dermatitis will leave the skin more vulnerable to adult acne as well.

If you are suffering from adult acne infections, you should inform your doctor about your work conditions and your history of occupational contact dermatitis to figure out the best plan of management possible. If you have already developed unsightly scars from previous acne infections, you will find options for acne scar treatment in Vancouver.

Unspecified Occupational Skin Diseases

Common examples of unspecified occupational skin conditions include but is not limited to melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, miliaria, leukoderma, scleroderma, and onycholysis.

It is estimated less than 10% of the occupational skin condition reported belong to the unspecified category. The keyword here is “reported” because most workers do not even realize that anything other than contact dermatitis can originate from the work that they do.