JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Skin conditions in instrumental musicians: a self-reported survey.

BACKGROUND: Instrumental musicians are a risk group for a variety of skin conditions.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency and risk factors of instrument-related skin disorders in musicians.

METHOD: We mailed an 11-item survey to 19 German universities of music and performing arts.

RESULTS: 412 musicians returned the completed questionnaire, of whom 21.6% (89/412) had an instrument-related skin disorder including callosities (52/89; 58.4%), contact dermatitis (CD; 17/89; 19.1%), fiddler's neck (17/89; 19.1%), and erosion (3/89; 3.4%). Allergic CD (13/17; 76.5%) was most frequently reported in violinists and violists. Of 116 violinists and violists, 17 (14.7%) suffered from fiddler's neck. String and plucking instrumentalists most frequently reported callosities (61/89; 68.5%) and skin problems (32/37; 86.5%). Instrument-related skin disorders were significantly associated with high practice frequencies (P = 0.022) and a professional status (P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Callosities and CD were the most commonly reported skin changes in the respondents. Both callosities and skin problems such as CD and fiddler's neck are significantly associated with high practice frequencies and professional status. Our data indicate that among those returning the questionnaires, string players and plucking instrumentalists seem to be at highest risk of developing skin problems when compared with players of other musical instruments.

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