George I. Varghese, Jonathan H. Zippin
Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) of the hands can be a frustrating and underdiagnosed condition. While plant based products are a common source of ACD, tea leaves have rarely been reported as a cause of dermatitis. We describe a case of contact dermatitis from Pu-erh black tea as a result of chronic handling of tea leaves. Patch testing of both the patient and 6 normal controls helped to identify which teas produced an irritant contact dermatitis. This case describes a rare cause of ACD to black tea and also highlights the importance of using normal controls in patch testing to plant materials to help differentiate true allergic contact dermatitis from irritant reactions.