Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Musicians at risk for common skin condition

Date:
March 16, 2012
Source:
Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
Summary:
Whether you play a musical instrument in your school band, as a weekend hobby, or as a professional, you may be at risk for a common skin condition. Contact dermatitis is characterized by a rash that can occur anywhere on the body (typically the hands and face in musicians) and is caused by something that comes into contact with the skin, which makes the skin become red, scaly and inflamed.

Whether you play a musical instrument in your school band, as a weekend hobby, or as a professional, you may be at risk for a common skin condition. Contact dermatitis is characterized by a rash that can occur anywhere on the body (typically the hands and face in musicians) and is caused by something that comes into contact with the skin, which makes the skin become red, scaly and inflamed. Contact dermatitis can be caused by an irritant or an allergy. Metals, skin care products and cosmetics are common culprits for allergic contact dermatitis, but musical instruments pose a potential hazard due to some of the components of the instruments that come into contact with the skin.

Related Articles


Hazards by Instrument:

Brass instruments (flute, trombone, trumpet, tuba)

  • Metals found in the instruments, such as nickel, cobalt, palladium, silver and gold, can cause contact dermatitis.
  • Lip swelling can result from the pressure of forcing air through instrument mouthpieces.
  • Infections of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA and non-MRSA) and herpes simplex virus can spread through the sharing of mouthpieces.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis A, B and C also can be spread if instruments are not cleaned properly.

Woodwind instruments (bassoon, clarinet, oboe, saxophone)

  • A variety of specific allergens are responsible for irritant contact dermatitis in these musicians.
    • Cane reeds
    • Chromium
    • Cobalt
    • Exotic woods
    • Nickel
  • Lip swelling, infections and the spread of viruses (as described above) also can occur from playing these instruments.

String instruments (cellos, violas, violins)

  • The composition of these instruments and products used with these instruments may contain allergens that can cause contact dermatitis in musicians.
    • Chromium
    • Exotic woods
    • Nickel
    • Paraphenylenediamine (staining agent for woods)
    • Propolis (bee glue), a component of Italian varnishes used in all Stradivarius violins
    • Rosin

Treating Contact Dermatitis:

See a dermatologist

  • To determine whether the contact dermatitis is due to an irritant or an allergy, it is important for musicians to see a dermatologist for proper evaluation and treatment.

Take a break

  • Whether the dermatitis is caused by an irritant or an allergy, Dr. Fransway recommends refraining from playing the instrument while the skin heals. A dermatologist can perform patch testing to identify the cause of the dermatitis. Once the cause is known, the dermatologist can help the musician determine what changes should be made in order to return to playing the instrument.
  • Topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, can allow the dermatitis to heal.

Change is good

  • If the musician has irritant contact dermatitis caused by friction or pressure, modifying the area of contact with the instrument -- such as wearing protective gloves -- may help improve the condition.
  • If allergic contact dermatitis is the culprit, substituting a component of the instrument causing an allergic reaction with another material is recommended.
    • For example, mouthpieces and guitar strings are available in different compositions.
    • Dr. Fransway cautioned that if a change is not made, the dermatitis will recur more rapidly with each exposure.

Tips for Sharing Instruments:

  • If sharing is to occur, mouthpieces should be cleaned with soap and water or with alcohol to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Keep instruments clean and replace worn or damaged parts in intimate contact with the body.
  • Practice good hygiene.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Academy of Dermatology (AAD). "Musicians at risk for common skin condition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120316101149.htm>.
Academy of Dermatology (AAD). (2012, March 16). Musicians at risk for common skin condition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120316101149.htm
Academy of Dermatology (AAD). "Musicians at risk for common skin condition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120316101149.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins