Pediatric dermatitis ©Logical Images Inc. The medical diagnosis of toilet seat dermatitis is a real one, but if it hasn't come to your attention, it may be because most cases are found in underdeveloped countries... until recently.
The condition of toilet seat dermatitis, first documented in 1927, is marked by a pink or red rash on the bottocks and upper thighs, and it's usually quite itchy. Toilet seat dermatitis is usually caused by caustic toilet cleaning chemicals or the varnishes, lacquers and paints on wooden toilet seats.
A new study conducted at Johns Hopkins University by members of the department of pediatric dermatology found five new cases of the dermatitis in the U.S. Two of the cases had been caused by harsh cleaning chemicals used in the childrens' schools. Ingredients such as didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride and alkyl
dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride have been previously documented to
cause severe skin irritation.
“Toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in
medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries, but one that younger
pediatricians have not come across in their daily practice,” researcher Bernard
Cohen, MD, director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s
Center, stated in a news release. “If our small analysis is any indication of
what’s happening, we need to make sure the condition is on every pediatrician’s
To prevent toilet seat dermatitis, researchers recommend the following
- Use toilet seat covers in public restrooms, including hospital and school
bathrooms. Such covers are widely available in major retail stores. The
researchers add that allergy to toilet seat covers has not been reported in the
- Replace wooden toilet seats with plastic ones.
- Avoid harsh cleaners.
EDITOR'S NOTE: You can always use the Public Toilet Survival Kit.