10 Common Causes of Skin Allergies


10 Common Causes of Skin Allergies

October 2, 2013

Guest post by: Benadryl ™


Itchy, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful – skin allergies can be caused by a wide variety of triggers.

This means if you are suffering from irritated skin, identifying and avoiding the cause of a potential allergy is crucial.

As they are caused by an immune system response to an allergen, in theory almost every substance is capable of producing a reaction in someone.

But here are ten common irritants responsible for causing skin allergies,that could help you determine what is giving your skin problems.

1) Jewelry: Costume jewelry commonly contains nickel which can cause reactions in a significant portion of the population. Nickel, which can also be found in buttons, zippers and coins, is known to cause a red rash that itches and sometimes blisters. However, costume jewelry is not the only type of jewelry known to cause allergic reactions. Gold is another common irritant that causes inflammation and rash in a large number of people.

2) Natural and Artificial fragrances: The fragrances used in many cosmetics, insecticides, soaps, lotions, antiseptics and other everyday products can be very irritating to the skin. For instance balsam of Peru, which is a substance extracted from tree resin that can be found in many scented lotions and perfumes, is a potentially irritating fragrance.

3) Facial Cleansers and Creams: In addition to fragrance, many beauty products also contain preservatives and acids, such as alpha hydroxyl acid and ascorbic acid, which can cause painful rashes. One preservative known to cause allergic reactions is quaternium 15, an ammonium salt often found in shampoo, sunscreen, self-tanner and nail polish.

4) Topical Antibiotics: Instead of curing infection, some people experience further irritation when using topical antibiotics. Two antibiotics that commonly cause skin allergies are bacitracin and neomycin sulfate. Antibiotic-induced reactions vary from mild redness and rash to severe pain, swelling and blistering of the skin.

5) Latex: Latex is a common allergen that affects between five and 10 percent of medical workers, as well as a sizeable portion of workers in other fields. Latex reactions can occur immediately or may appear hours after coming into contact with the substance. Symptoms of a latex allergy include hives, cramping, severe itching, conjunctivitis, scaling and skin lesions.

6) Heat: Prolonged exposure to heat and sweat can cause a condition called polymorphic light eruption, or sun rash. In some, this allergy occurs randomly, while other people develop a rash every time they spend too much time in the heat. Another less common heat related allergy is one called solar urticarial, which causes sufferers to break out in hives after only a few minutes of sun exposure.

7) Household cleaners: Many household cleaners, including detergents, all-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, polishes, toilet bowl disinfectants and drain cleaners, contain hard chemicals that can cause allergy-relation irritation. One common allergen used in these products is formaldehyde, which is also frequently used in paints, cosmetics, paper products, fabric treatments and medication.

8) Medication: Oral medications are capable of causing immune responses that trigger harmful skin reactions. Aspirin and oral antibiotics, particularly sulfa and penicillin, are some of the most common culprits.

9) Poison Ivy and Similar Plants: Poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak are extremely popular allergens known to cause contact dermatitis, which is a rash that appears after touching a seemingly harmless substance. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of people experience rashes of varying severity after coming into contact with one of these plants. In fact, many people will experience a reaction even when exposed to smoke that contains urushiol oil, the natural substance that makes poison ivy so irritating.

10) Hair Dye: Hair dyes contain two substances, cobalt chloride and para-phenylenediamine, that can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin. Cobalt chloride is also found in certain medical supplies, metal products, blue pigments and antiperspirants, so people who are allergic to hair dye should be careful around these products.


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