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Can mobiles cause skin rash?

17th October 2008

Dermatologists have warned that some mobile phone users are developing rashes on their faces or ears.

They fear it is to an allergic reaction to the nickel found in the casing or buttons on the handsets.

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) says the rash is being seen on people who spend a lot of time on their mobiles.

Nickel is the most common allergy contact in the UK and affects up to 30% of people.

The link to mobile phone handsets follows several case reports of patients with unexplained rashes on their face and ear.

Dr Graham Lowe from the BAD said: "The allergy results from frequent skin contact with nickel-containing objects.

"Prolonged or repetitive contact with a nickel-containing phone is more likely to cause a skin reaction in those who are allergic.

"If you have had a previous reaction to a nickel-coated belt-buckle or jewellery, for example, you are at greater risk of reacting to metal phones."

BAD is advising people with such rashes to contact their GP and Dr Lowe said it was worth doctors considering the condition if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained.

GSM, which represents mobile phone operators, said models were available that do not use nickel on surfaces.

"Some manufacturers plan to phase out use of nickel on surfaces across their product range," added a spokesman.

Phone users can also use a case or hands-free kit to help minimise contact with areas of the phone that could contain nickel.

 

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