• Yonah LevyEmail author
  • B. M. Hausen
Reference work entry


The incidence of wood dermatitis is quite small although it may be greater due to underreporting in countries from which no reports reach the public. The literature concerns commonly only case reports.

Woods cause allergic and irritant dermatitis, often with an airborne pattern. Contact urticaria, photocontact dermatitis, and erythema multiform are uncommon or rare.

In most cases, occupational dermatitis caused by wood occurs in individuals working with raw wood such as cabinetmakers, carpenters, sawmill workers, and lumberjacks. Fine sanding of wood is particularly risky.

The chemical substances responsible for allergic reactions are mostly benzo-, naphtho-, furano-, and phenanthrene quinones, stilbenes, phenolic compounds, and terpenes.

The chemical substances responsible for the majority of nonallergic reactions are alkaloids, glycosides, anthraquinones, saponins, phenols, and flavonoids.

Botanical identification of the suspected wood is essential; otherwise a description of the case is useless and proper advice to the patient often difficult. Trade names are often confusing and misleading. Almost always the help of a wood taxonomist is required for botanical identification.


Wood Dermatitis Allergic Irritant Occupational Chemical Identification Classification Trade Carpenters 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCSFSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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