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[Dermatological problems of musicians: a prospective study in musical students].

INTRODUCTION: Musicians are at risk of developing particular skin conditions related to their activity. The purpose of our work was to determine the frequency, describe the clinical aspects and identify the risk factors of specific dermatological problems in musical students.

POPULATION AND METHODS: We carried out a prospective epidemiological study between April 2003 and April 2004 among music students registered in four musical institutes of Tunisia. The musicians were questioned and examined in systematic fashion at their institutes. Demographic data, characteristics of instrumental practice and dermatologic manifestations were collected. Five hundred and ninety-four students were examined. The sex-ratio was 1.6 with a mean age of 22.0 +/- 4.0 years. The statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software for Windows (version 12.0).

RESULTS: Two hundred and ninety-five students (49.7%) had at least one dermatologic lesion. In multivariate analysis, the following factors were significantly correlated with dermatological problems: male gender, age > or = 20 years, history of musical activity > or = 5 years, practice > or = 10 hours/week and percussion instruments. Nine types of lesions were determined: corns and calluses, pigmentation abnormalities, irritant contact dermatitis, mechanical acne, erythema, friction bulla, nail diseases, cicatricial alopecia and allergic contact dermatitis. Corns and calluses were significantly the most frequent (P<0.001).

DISCUSSION: The frequency of dermatological lesions was high compared to data reported in the literature, 20 and 32% respectively in the studies by Onder and Rimmer. This difference could be due to the greater number of percussionists in our study.

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