Nickel levels in urine were determined among 163 female dermatological patients aged 18 to 46 years. Data on life-style factors were collected in parallel via a questionnaire. Urinary nickel excretion was in the normal range of the German female population (0.2-46.1 microg Ni/g creatinine). The 95th percentile (3.9 microg Ni/l urine) exceeded the German reference value (3.0 microg Ni/l urine). In the multivariate regression analyses we found a statistically significant increase of ln-transformed nickel levels with increase in age and in women using dietary supplements. The following variables were not associated with Nickel urine levels: suffering from nickel eczema, smoking, drinking stagnated water, eating foods with high nickel contents and using nickel-containing kitchen utensils as, for example, an electric kettle with an open heater coil. We conclude that personal urinary levels should be assessed with simultaneous consideration of habits and life-style factors. A German national survery would be useful. Those patients who experience the exacerbation of their eczema in cases of oral provocation, for example, by a high nickel diet should be aware of potential sources of nickel, such as supplements.