Chin rest rash fix?

October 17, 2017, 8:57 PM · I’ve been getting a rash under my left chin from my chin rest. I went to the dermatologist (not for this particularly) and he gave me a cream for it. Is there anything I could put on my chinrest or do something else to prevent this rash from forming again or do I just have to deal with it?

Thanks,
Cal

Replies (27)

October 17, 2017, 9:39 PM · You can put a foam pad over it or other stick-on pad.
October 17, 2017, 11:01 PM · A lot of violinists get a mark from the mechanical contact. If you're having an allergic reaction then you should avoid the direct contact. Cover the chinrest or change to a different wood or even plastic. What kind of wood is your chinrest?
October 18, 2017, 2:47 AM · Try a Strad Pad. It covers the chin rest and metal fittings, is removable and can be washed. I've used this myself for many years. Available at Shar or Amazon.
October 18, 2017, 2:53 AM · Replace it with a hypoallergenic chin rest such as Wittner.
October 18, 2017, 5:32 AM · Another vote here for Strad Pad. I, too, have used them for years. I typically practice and play up to 3 hours a day, which is all I have time for now. In my student years, I was up to 5 hours a day -- still with no discomfort or irritation.
October 18, 2017, 6:09 AM · There is also the possibility of contact dermatitis from rosin dust. For many people, this only shows up after prolonged exposure.

Buy a bunch of inexpensive, soft cloth pads to use over the chin rest during practice. About every week, replace the cloth with a new one. Don't bother washing the old ones as rosin can be resistant to water washing. Throw them out or use them for dusting.

Edited: October 19, 2017, 6:15 AM · Might be the wood (rosewood is a frequent offender) or the hardware (many older cr had coated nickel fittings) or rosin {all of these can be relieved by covering the cr as suggested}--or you could have a pressure irritation (the violin hickey). If the last, you may need a differently fitting cr to minimize the stress.
October 19, 2017, 6:35 AM · sounds funny but what has worked for me is chapstick. I put a little on a cloth and rub it onto the chinrest. Then I get a clean cloth and rub off any excess or until it feels dry to the touch. Every now and then I use just a clean cloth to wipe off any rosin dust.
October 19, 2017, 8:14 AM · Jim that's a great idea. I wonder also if a little rub from a wax candle (paraffin or beeswax) would do too. These things are a little more simple chemically and could be less likely to cause damage if a little bit got onto another part of the violin during the throes of battle.

My term for the violin hickey is "the mark of the covenant."

October 19, 2017, 8:49 AM · In my case it's both the metal and the chinrest itself that cause horrible excemas. No matter if it's ebony, boxwood or rosewood, even plastic (I am allergic to phenylenediamine) is not an option. And it got worse over the years. A couple a days of practising without covering my chinrest the eczema is likely to generalise over my body. I used strad pads and nowadays Vaguun chinrest covers.
Edited: October 19, 2017, 3:55 PM · Zephiran Chloride (used to be an easy to find, affordable drug store product) works wonders to quickly clear up chin-rest rash.

A chamois "cloth" (treated, fuzzy, soft leather) such as available from a car-parts dealer works wonders to protect you from this hazard in the future. You can use it as a cloth or use Velcro to attach it to your chinrest semi-permanently.

I learned both of these "tricks" at the 1977 San Diego Chamber Music Workshop, where we were playing 4 hours before lunch, 4 hours after lunch and then "freelancing until our arms fell off." My jaw was an irritate mess by lunch of the first day - so instead of eating I went into town and bought the two items I've described above and they worked amazingly. I was using a chinrest that I had used successfully for over 10 years.

SHAR Products now sells a cotton chinrest cover that I find very effective, convenient and comfortable: https://www.sharmusic.com/Accessories/Chinrests/Premium-Cotton-Chinrest-Cover.axd .

October 19, 2017, 5:57 PM · Zephiran chloride (benzalkonium chloride, generically) is a quaternary ammonium salt that functions as a biocide. A relatively small number of people are sensitive to it, I believe. Quat salts are in all kinds of household products. For example it is the active ingredient in the stuff you put into your piano humidifier to inhibit mildew and mold. The better approach in the long run is prevention. Chamois is a useful product because it's surprisingly cushioning for being so thin, and it's very inexpensive. You can also affix moleskin to your chinrest. You'll see that on a lot of kids' violins.
October 20, 2017, 5:10 AM · Quick note about the Strad Pad that I didn't realize - my kids' piano trio's violinist has this skin sensitivity and told me that the Strad Pad contains latex, which itself causes issues for a lot of folks.
October 20, 2017, 11:24 AM · Chamois is great for this purpose.
Edited: October 20, 2017, 5:32 PM · If you are sensitive to the nickel consider titanium hardware if you don't like the Wittner CR.

You can also paint the metal parts that contact your neck with clear nail polish. (remove the chinrest from the instrument before doing this.)

Yes, the Strad pad contains latex. As a former nurse I can tell you that both medical professionals as well as customers(the new descriptor for patients) react ranging from rashes to anaphylaxis.

On the up side, I have a friend who got to play a Strad because she had the "hickey" that marked her as a, in their words, 'serious player'.

October 21, 2017, 12:19 AM · Well that's silly, if you play restless you will usually not have a mark because you have a cloth as padding.
October 21, 2017, 12:33 AM · I was at one point jealous of people with chinrest rashes, especially those people who had huge blisters that could be popped. No matter how much practicing I do, there is next to no evidence on my neck that I play. Guess I don't have enough allergies.
October 21, 2017, 4:59 AM · I think the hickeys and blisters result from more than just allergic reactions of the skin. Depending on one's setup, there can be pressure points, pinching, bruising, twisting-and-torquing of the skin that might open up blood vessels near the surface. Then you can have actual infections which are much different from allergies. That's where zephiran chloride can potentially help.
October 21, 2017, 12:37 PM · Grow a beard? Works for me!
October 22, 2017, 6:09 PM · I had the same problem with a nickel reaction. I switched to titanium chinrest hardware and the problem went away immediately. You can find them online and they are easy to install.
October 22, 2017, 8:33 PM · Stradpet has a good assortment of titanium chinrest brackets (and other accessories), very reasonably priced. I've purchased 3 sets so far. My contact dermatitis is so bad that I develop a rash if I play using a nickel-mounted chinrest for more than a couple minutes - even 5 minutes is enough to guarantee a bad rash.

https://stradpet.aliexpress.com/store/1703074

A handkerchief also works just as well, but I prefer not to use one.

October 24, 2017, 11:25 AM · Zephiran chloride? I haven't seen that since the school first aid room. I liked it because unlike other things it didn't sting when the nurse applied it to a scrape. I wonder why you don't see it anymore.
October 25, 2017, 6:39 PM · I just put a piece of cloth on top
October 25, 2017, 6:42 PM · One handkerchief a day keeps doctor away!
November 3, 2017, 9:44 AM · I recently replaced my Pernambuco chin rest with Plum wood one. I am very happy with the result. Plum wood chin rest didn't give me any marks and moreover it is softer and more comfortable.
November 3, 2017, 3:54 PM · JK is the plum wood CR the same exact shape as your other one?
November 3, 2017, 6:54 PM · I had Guarneri model and the new one is pretty similar.
https://www.thomann.de/pics/bdb/411183/12037331_800.jpg

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