The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) today announced that it has recognised a new ‘condition’ associated with excessive use of mobile phones.

“It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained,” the BAD said, noting that many primary care physicians have, until now, been unaware of the connection between cell phones and dermatitis.

‘Mobile phone dermatitis’ shows up as a ‘red or itchy’ rash on the ears, neck or cheeks and is believed to result from prolonged contact with certain metals — mainly nickel — used to plate the cases and push-buttons on many cell phone models.

The condition is a new, specific sub-type of allergic contact dermatitis, which can also be triggered in susceptible patients by prolonged skin contact with metal-plated jewelery, belt buckles and other common, personal items.

A recent study by researchers at the University in Providence, Rhode Island, found that nickel was present in ten of the 22 popular cell phone handsets they tested.

The BAD announcement comes in contrast to recent studies that have given cell phones a clean bill health in connection with other, more serious conditions such as brain cancer.

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