Coronavirus epidemic and skin care advice (for healthcare workers and the community).

Given the current epidemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the frequency of hand washing and use of alcohol based hand rubs has dramatically increased in both the healthcare population and in the general community. This in turn, can impact the skin barrier, resulting in skin dryness and hand dermatitis.  To ensure healthy hands,  our dermatology team have put together some skin care advice.  This can be downloaded here.  If you have any specific questions please email [email protected]

A4 ASAP chart 

ICD HCW LONG poster– – A guide from the Australasian College of Dermatologists and the Occupational Dermatology Research & Education Centre.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to an increased use of face masks, not only amongst healthcare workers but also now the general public. Prolonged wearing of masks and goggles can cause adverse skin reactions such as acne, contact dermatitis and pressure effects, as well as exacerbating any underlying skin conditions.  For information about masks and facial rashes, please read the attached information sheet.

Skin problems with masks

Waiting for a patch testing appointment?

Here is some skin care advice while you wait.

Due to COVID-19, many patch testing clinics have been postponed until later in the year.  We are aware many people may need some skin care advice until they can have their appointment.  There are a few things you can do that may improve your skin until this appointment.

Remove products that may contain fragrance –  We have found that many people are allergic to fragrance (perfume). It is a good idea to avoid fragrances to see if your rash gets better, before attending for testing. Currently we are finding that different types of fragrances make up the five most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis in our clinic. For more information about fragrance allergy click on the link below.

Fragrance Pre patch testing info Final.docx

Remove products that contain the preservative Methylisothiazolinone or MI and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) We have found many people allergic these preservatives.  It is a good idea to avoid them to see if your rash gets better, before attending for testing.

Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) are preservatives which are used in a wide variety of cosmetics and some industrial products to prevent contamination by germs, particularly bacteria. They are often used in combination or MI may be used alone. For more information about allergy to this preservative click on link below.

MI MCI Brochure Pre-testing.doc

Education events for 2020 and 2021

Patch Test Teleconference- Contact dermatitis in times of Covid-19

Saturday 17th October, 9am-12.30pm

The team from the Occupational Dermatology Research and Education Centre at the Skin Health Institute are offering a shortened version of the Patch Test Training Day to be held by teleconference.  Not surprisingly, we will be highlighting all things Covid. To view program, please see link below.

Patch Test Training Teleconference 2020 Flyer FINAL

Patch Test Training Day 2021

Friday 9th April 2021

The patch testing team from the Skin Health Institute in Melbourne have put together a brand new program for the 7th Annual Patch Test Training Day, titled, A case based learning experience.  The day was to be held on Friday 15th May 2020 but was postponed (due to the coronavirus).  The new date for this event will be Friday 9th April 2021, to be held in Adelaide.  Click the link below for more information.

Patch test day flyer 2021

Registrations will be available at 

Skin Health Education Day 2021

Saturday 27th February 2021

The 5th annual Skin Health Education Day will be held on Saturday 27th February 2021, Melbourne. Leading dermatologists and skin care experts will provide training and education on how to  diagnose and how to treat and manage common skin complaints.  This one-day education program will be led by Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon.  This day is designed and delivered by dermatologists, the experts in skin!

THERE IS A BRAND NEW PROGRAM FOR 2021.  Topics to include:

  • Debunking dermatology terms
  • Advances in melanoma
  • The microbiome and its relevance to skin
  • Wound dressings following surgery
  • Psoriasis- where are we now
  • Eczema
  • Anti-ageing
  • Facial rashes
  • Fragrance allergy
  • Dermoscopy

The day is suitable for GP’s, nurses and healthcare professionals.

This education activity is endorsed by the Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation (Federal Office).  Completion of the activity will attract 9 CPD hours.

The Skin Health Education Day is an RACGP Certified Activity worth 13 CPD points (ID:183191).

ACRRM members are entitled to 6 Educational Unit PDP units (ACRRM course ID:20651).

Skin Health Education Day 2021 Flyer FINAL

To register visit

Education news:

Hand dermatitis prevention module for health care workers

It is estimated that up to 50% of HCWs have OCD to varying extents at some stage of their career.  An online learning module has been developed, which aims to prevent hand dermatitis in HCWs but also to educate about what to do if dermatitis develops. Upon completion of this module a certificate of achievement is available for download.

This module was developed by the Occupational Dermatology Research & Education Centre, at the Skin & Cancer Foundation, Melbourne, with support from Hand Hygiene Australia. This project was funded by Safe Work Australia.

Audience – All healthcare worker including nurses & midwives, doctors, ambulance personnel, dentists, allied health workers and all students entering the health field.

To view the module please go to Hand Hygiene Australia website, now hosted by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

To print out a PDF document with step by step instructions about how to access the module please click here:  Promotion of hand dermatitis prevention module flyer

We have also developed additional hand dermatitis guides, one for nurses with hand dermatitis and one for infection control staff about guiding staff with hand dermatitis.

Healthcare Workers Flowchart 2017

Infection Control Flowchart 2018

New mobile patch test nurse service via Contact Allergen Bank Australia (CABA)

CABA is our online allergen ordering service which is available to dermatologists nationally.  Patch tests can be ordered from us on a per patient basis and mailed around Australia. In recent months we have been trialling a new mobile patch test nurse service, where one of the highly trained patch test nurses from SCF can visit your practice to apply patches and perform patient sample dilutions.  This service is now available to Victorian dermatologists.  If you are interested in learning more about this service or associated costs please email [email protected]

Allergy to Methylisothiazolinone decreasing

The good news is , we are seeing a reduction in the number of allergies to the preservative – Methylisothiazolinone or MI, which has been a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis for the past 5 years  Until recently, we were seeing an ever growing number of people developing allergic contact dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) to this preservative.  MI is a preservative that was used in baby wipes and other personal products. Manufacturers have slowly been removing this preservative from household products. People still need to be vigilant and check products used to ensure it is avoided.  It still can be found in house paint, hand wash and some shampoos.  Please email [email protected] of you have any questions.

For more information visit the “Contact dermatitis in the community” or “Health professionals” section of the website.

New publications to keep an eye out for:

Mauelpillai N, Nixon R.
Allergic contact dermatitis to isocyanate.
DermNet New Zealand. March 2020.
Available at: (accessed 30 March 2020).

Manuelpillai N, Nixon R.
Contact dermatitis to nitrile.
DermNet New Zealand. March 2020.
Available at: (accessed 29 March 2020).

Fathima Ferial Ismail , Nixon RL.
Allergic contact dermatitis to triclosan-coated suture material.
Accepted for publication.

Ricciardo B, Nixon RL, Tam MM, Radic R, Ricciardo B.
Allergic contact dermatitis to Dermabond® Prineo® following elective orthopedic surgery: a case series.
Accepted, Orthopaedics 2019. 8th October 2019 (ORTHO-2019-309R1).

Felmingham C, Nixon R, Palmer A, Lee A.
Allergic contact dermatitis caused by benzoisothiazolinone in a continuous positive airway pressure mask liquid soap.
Contact Dermatitis  2019; 81:152-3.

Isaksson M, Ale I, Anderse KE,  Cannavo A, Diepgen TD, Elsner P, Goh CL, Goncalo M, Goossens A, Ljubojevic Hadzavdic S, Jerajani H, Lachapelle J-M, Young LJ, Maibach H, Matsunaga K,      McFadden  J, Nixon R, Pratt M, Puangpet P, Sasseville D, Verma K, and Bruze M.
Revised baseline series of the International Contact Dermatitis Research Group.  Dermatitis; 2020 Jan 3.

Bruze M, Ale I, Andersen KE, Cannavo A, Diepgen TD, Elsner P, Goh CL, Goncalo M, Goossens A, McFadden J, Nixon R, Puangpet P, Sasseville D.
A retrospective study on contact allergy to fragrance mix II and hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde within the International Contact Dermatitis Research Group.
Accepted, Contact Dermatitis.

Felmingham C, Yip L, Tam M, Nixon RL
Allergy to sunscreen and leave-on facial products is not a likely causative mechanism in frontal fibrosing alopecia – perspective from contact allergy experts
Br J Dermatol 2019;  doi: 10.1111/bjd.18380

Felmingham C, Davenport R, Bala H, Palmer A, Nixon R.
Allergic contact dermatitis in children and proposal for an Australian Paediatric Baseline Series.
Aust J Dermatol. 2019: doi: 10.1111/ajd.13169.

Bravo E, Felmingham C, Nixon RL
Fiberglass dermatitis in a caravan manufacturer manifesting as prurigo nodularis
Contact Dermatitis. 2019;  DOI: 10.1111/cod.13333

Flury M, Cahill J, Nixon RL.
Occupational contact dermatitis caused by opioids: a case series.
Contact Dermatitis; 81: 332-5.

Bingham L, Tam MM, Palmer AM, Cahill JL, Nixon RL.
Contact dermatitis to lavender: A retrospective study from an Australian clinic.
Contact Dermatitis. 2019; 81:37-42.

Wong N, Shen S and Nixon R.
Severe allergic contact dermatitis to topical bufexamac requiring hospitalisation.
Contact Dermatitis 2018; 80:395-397

Felmingham C, Nixon R.
Skin barrier in atopic dermatitis.

Osti M, Nixon R.

Photiou L, Tam MM, Nixon R, Green J, Yip L.
The pathogenesis of frontal fibrosing alopecia.
Australas J Dermatol 2019; 60:99-104.

Flury U, Nixon R.
The methylisothiazolinone contact allergy epidemic in Australia.
Contact Dermatitis 79(3):189-191 . 10.1111/cod.13305

Harris A, Saikal S, Scurry J, Relic J, Nixon RL, Chee P.
Severe cutaneous eruptions following the topical use of preparations containing bufexamac: is it time to reconsider its registration by the Therapeutics Goods Agency in Australia?
Australas J Dermatol. 2019; 60:53-56.

Nixon RL, Higgins CL, Maor D, Bala HR, Lalji A, Heim K.
Does clinical testing support the current guidance definition of prolonged contact for nickel allergy?
Contact Dermatitis 79:356-64.

Keegel T and Nixon R.
Wet work and healthcare workers: Use of hand disinfectants not associated with self-reported eczema.
Commentary, Br J Dermatol 178: 324-5.

Lee S, Maor D, Palmer A, Nixon R.
Declining allergic contact dermatitis from tosylamide formaldehyde resin in nail polish.
Contact Dermatitis. 2018; 79:184-5.

Vu M, Toholka R, Cahill J, Nixon R.
A case of immediate hypersensitivity to chlorhexidine.
Australas J Dermatol 2018; 59:55-56.

Book chapters

Ulrich NH, Mizutani H, Nixon RL, Thyssen JP.
Occupational hand eczema, chapter. In Contact  Dermatitis,
ed J Duus-Johansen, Frosch P, Lepoittevin JP. Springer Berlin 2019.

Mizutani H, Nixon RL.
The Australian Baseline Series in Contact Dermatitis,
J Duus-Johansen, Frosch P, Lepoittevin JP. Springer Berlin 2019.

Allnut K, Nixon RL.
Occupational contact dermatitis, chapter.
In Patty’s Industrial Hygiene. 7th edition, ed B Cohrssen, Wiley.

Nixon R, Allnut K, Diepgen T.
Contact Dermatitis, chapter 35. Middletons Allergy, Principles and Practice. Elsevier.

Nixon R. Tosylamide formaldehyde resin,
Practical Guide to Contact Dermatitis and Common Contact Allergens. McFadden J, Pongpairoj K, Puangpet P, Thaiwat S. Springer Berlin

Kanerva’s Occupational Dermatology.
Eds Rustomeyer T, Elsner P, John SM. Maibach H. Chapter:Epoxy Resins. Higgins C, Nixon R, Cahill J.  Third edition, Springer Berlin