Content » Vol 92, Issue 6

Investigative Report

Lifestyle and Nickel Allergy in a Swedish Adolescent Population: Effects of Piercing, Tattooing and Orthodontic Appliances

Ronny Fors, Maurits Persson, Erik Bergström, Hans Stenlund, Birgitta Stymne, Berndt Stenberg
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1305


The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of life­style practices in adolescents and their association with nickel allergy. Upper secondary school pupils (n = 4,376; 15–23 years) were patch-tested for nickel aller­gy, follow­ing completion of a questionnaire (answered by 6,095). Almost 86% girls and 21% of boys reported piercing. More girls (6%) than boys (3%) had a tattoo. Twenty-six percent of the girls and 18% of the boys were regular smokers. Vegetarian/vegan diets were reported by 20% of girls and by 6% of boys. Piercing, female gender, and vocational programme increased the risk of nickel allergy, whereas orthodontic appliance treat­ment prior to piercing reduced the risk of nickel allergy. Pupils in vocational programmes had the highest prevalence of nickel allergy. Lifestyle behaviours are interconnected and cluster in subgroups of adolescents. Female sex, piercing and choice of educational programme are prominent lifestyle markers. A trend shift is observed, where more girls than boys report tattooing.

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