Bindii dermatitis

Authors: Jason Tang, Medical Student, University of New South Wales; Dr Monisha Gupta, Dermatologist, Liverpool Hospital, and Senior Conjoint Lecturer, University of New South Wales. DermNet NZ Editor in Chief, A/Prof Amanda Oakley, November 2017.


What is bindii?

Bindii is the Australian name for a prickly annual weed. It is low growing plant that is widely established on lawns and in flower beds. The name is used to refer to several species, particularly Soliva pterosperma and Soliva sessilis. Other names for bindii are bindi, bindyi, Jo-Jo, bindi-eye, and, in New Zealand,  Onehunga weed, prickle weed and burrweed.

The bindii weed originated in South America, and has since naturalised in Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, and southern USA.

Soliva sessilis1

1By Harry Rose from South West Rocks, Australia - Soliva sessilis plant, CC BY 2.0. 

What is bindii dermatitis?

Bindii dermatitis is a form of irritant contact dermatitis due to injury by the seed of the bindii weed.

Who gets bindii dermatitis?

Bindii dermatitis may affect anyone. It most often affects boys 5 to 18 years of age, possibly because of their active lifestyle involving outdoor sports.

The risk of dermatitis may be increased if there is a family history of bindii dermatitis.

What are the clinical features of bindii dermatitis?

Bindii dermatitis most often occurs in late spring and early summer and is less frequent during winter when the bindii weed becomes dormant.

The spine of the bindii seed penetrates the skin causing a sharp prick. Over the next few days, the skin around the spine becomes inflamed forming discrete red papules with a central puncture site.

  • The papules most often occur on hands, feet, elbows, and knees; they are rare on other sites of the body.
  • The papules may become scaly or occasionally, pustular.
  • They may be itchy, tender, or sting.
  • They can persist for several months.
  • Bindii dermatitis may recur; tolerance does not appear to occur.

The severity of the dermatitis depends on:

  • The number and species of bindii seeds
  • The thickness of the injured skin
  • Whether the affected skin is already damaged, for example by atopic eczema
  • High or low environmental temperature
  • High or low humidity.

Some patients may develop an immediate wheal reaction when pricked by the bindii weed; this can resolve without progressing to dermatitis.

How is bindii dermatitis diagnosed?

Bindii dermatitis is a clinical diagnosis made through taking a thorough medical history and examination. There is no specific test.

Histology of a skin biopsy of bindii dermatitis shows spongiosis, mixed dermal infiltrate and foreign body giant cells. There may be marked oedema of the papillary dermis and draining sinuses. Evidence of plant material may be present.

What is the treatment of bindii dermatitis?

Visible prickles should be manually removed. 

Bindii dermatitis does not always respond to topical or systemic corticosteroid. Luckily, it is self-limited.

How is bindii dermatitis prevented?

Bindii dermatitis can be prevented by avoiding contact with the bindii weed.  

  • Cover skin during outdoor activities, particularly the hands, feet, elbows, and knees.
  • Remove bindii patches from grassed areas either manually or by applying a suitable herbicide in spring.
  • Discourage recurrence of the weed by aerating the soil.

 

Related Information

References

  • Commens, C. A., Bartlett, B. H., McGeoch, A. H., & Kossard, S. (1982). BINDII (JO‐JO) DERMATITIS THE CLINICAL AND HISTOPATHOLOGICAL SPECTRUM. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 23(3), 110-115. Journal.
  • Commens, C., McGeogh, A., Bartlett, B., & Kossard, S. (1984). Bindii (Jo Jo) dermatitis (Soliva pterosperma [Compositae]). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 10(5), 768-773. Journal.
  • Hogan, P. A. (1997). Bindii dermatitis. Australasian journal of dermatology, 38(4), 224-225. Journal.
  • Farhadian, J. A., Tlougan, B. E., Adams, B. B., Leventhal, J. S., & Sanchez, M. R. (2013). Skin conditions of baseball, cricket, and softball players. Sports Medicine, 43(7), 575-589. PubMed.

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