Mechanical Causes of Occupational Skin Disease

  • Richard BransEmail author
Reference work entry


The skin is well adapted to cope with many types of trauma, but mechanical insults to the skin can result in the formation of various dermatoses. Alterations occur mainly on the hands, feet, knees, elbows, lips, and neck. The time allowed for adaptation determines the reaction of the skin. Slowly increasing or mild repetitive pressure or friction induces hyperkeratosis, lichenification, and calluses, while sudden friction can induce erosions and blisters. The effects are modified by humidity, sweating, age, gender, nutritional status, infection, preexisting skin disease, and genetic and racial factors. Minor mechanically induced lesions incurred on the job may often be disregarded as unimportant and unworthy of attention but may consecutively cause considerable distress. Mechanical trauma may also contribute to development of irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. Moreover, the presence of certain underlying diseases may result in the replication and aggravation of that disease in the area of injury (isomorphic Koebner phenomenon).


Trauma Mechanical insults Pressure Friction Abrasion Pounding Hyperkeratosis Lichenification Calluses Fissures Erosions Blisters Pulpitis Cheilitis Acne mechanica Pressure urticaria Koebner phenomenon Post-traumatic eczema Granuloma 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health TheoryUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatologic Prevention and Rehabilitation (iDerm)University of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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