ALCOHOL: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

ALCOHOL: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Not An Allergen. This is a little tricky but let’s break it down: the most common alcohol (isopropyl, ethyl) used for disinfection is an irritant — and it is certainly drying —but it is not a common contact allergen. For more on the difference between irritant and allergic reactions, see It’s Complicated: Allergic Versus Irritant Reaction. Complicating things …

STEROIDS, CORTICOSTEROIDS: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

STEROIDS, CORTICOSTEROIDS: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen (or, several are) In what is a particularly cruel irony, many of the steroids used to calm extreme itching and inflammation may cause them. Corticosteroids were the American Contact Dermatitis Society‘s “allergen of the year” in 2005. Specifically on the published allergen lists are: Budesonide, Clobetasol-17-propionate, Hydrocortisone-17-butyrate, Desoximethasone, Triancinolone, and Tixocortol-21-pivalate. Steroids can be extremely important …

NEOMYCIN: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

NEOMYCIN: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen. Not just an allergen, this popular topical antibiotic was the American Contact Dermatitis Society‘s “allergen of the year” in 2010. Watch for it in its pure form but also combined with other active ingredients in many common topical antibacterial creams and ointments well as some eye drops, root canal filings and some personal care …

GOLD: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

GOLD: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen. Many metals are common allergens, and gold is no exception. To be sure, ask your dermatologist for a patch test — you might be sensitive to many other allergens but not this gorgeous one! References:  Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), …

LANOLIN: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

LANOLIN: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen. Lanolin, a fatty substance from sheep’s wool, is actually an alcohol….but that’s not why it is an allergen (“alcohol” per se isn’t an allergen…click here to learn more). Far from being drying, lanolin is a common base in ointments, can be soothing and is frequently used effectively for moist wound healing…but it is lanolin a common allergen. Again, …

TEA TREE OIL: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

TEA TREE OIL: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

 Allergen. This ingredient has some wonderful properties, but it is on the published lists of most common allergens. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re allergic to it. To be sure, ask your dermatologist for a patch test. You never know, you might be sensitive to many other ingredients but not tea tree oil! References:  Regularly published reports on …

NICKEL (the metal): Allergen or Not An Allergen?

NICKEL (the metal): Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen. Not just an allergen or a top allergen…nickel is frequently the number one most common allergen on published allergen lists, and was the 2008 Allergen of the Year of the American Contact Dermatitis Society. Watch for it in coins; chromed faucets, handles or armrests; certain eyeglass frames or parts, mobile phones or their cases, laptops and other electronics, cosmetic …

RUBBER IN GOGGLES: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

RUBBER IN GOGGLES: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

 Allergen. Rubber is one of the top allergens and can also cause problems in rubberized plastics. Rubber can cause rashes, peeling, itching but also hyper- and hypopigmentations. If you think you might have contact dermatitis, ask your dermatologist for a patch test. References:  Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European …

LEMON, LIME: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

LEMON, LIME: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

 Allergen. They are common allergens but — being so packed with wonderful vitamins and antioxidants— lemon, lime and other citruses should not be avoided, particularly as foods, unless you are truly allergic to them. If you think you might have contact dermatitis, ask your dermatologist for a patch test. For food allergies, ask your doctor for a prick test. …