The aim of this cross-sectional study was to estimate the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in hairdressers compared with a control group of elementary school teachers. Both groups consisted of employees who reported exanthema on the hands and/or forearms at the time of completing a questionnaire. The mean age for the affected hairdressers was 26 years (range: 17-63) and for the teachers 44 years (range: 28-65). The mean duration of employment was 85 months for the hairdressers (range: 2-552) and 177 months for the teachers (range: 24-360). The frequency of atopic dermatitis was 12.7% (C.I.: 6.3-19.2) in the group of hairdressers and 25% (C.I.: 7.7-42.3) in the group of teachers. No difference was observed between the groups regarding atopic mucosal symptoms or familial atopy.