Intolerances and Allergies

The substances that may cause skin allergies are contained in objects or products that are part of our daily life.
Intolerances and allergies are increasingly common pathologies, affecting an increasing number of individuals.

Among the most common allergens are metals such as nickel (present in costume jewellery, coins, keys, fashion accessories, cosmetics) and cobalt (present in metal objects, ceramics, concrete, cleaning agents). Allergy symptom vary from person to person depending on the degree of intolerance and can be very different.

Allergies primarily appear as contact dermatitis, which can be of two types: irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) or allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). In the case of contact dermatitis, the skin becomes itchy, with a rash and small blisters that often flake off. When this type of dermatitis persists for a long time, it tends to become chronic with a reduction of itchy rashes and the skin becomes dry, lichenified and with small cracks.

The most common contact dermatitis is the irritative kind (ICD), due to the direct action of toxic substances that come into contact with the skin; this is why the hands are the most frequent area to suffer, caused by soaps and detergents.

The allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), however, affects susceptible individuals whose immune system recognises the allergen and generates an inflammatory response. The allergens responsible for ACD can be found in a variety of products: from detergents (even the smallest residues that remain on clothes after washing) to metals (jewellery, costume jewellery, piercings, fashion accessories), products made of natural rubber - gloves, condoms, shoes - food products, from cosmetics to medicines, especially topical versions. Due to their frequency of use and the type of contact, personal hygiene and cosmetic products represent an important sensitisation channel. The main and most frequent allergens found in cosmetics are certain ingredients in perfumes, preservatives, colourings, additives, stabilisers and impurities such as heavy metals. As mentioned earlier, among these metals, nickel is the most common cause of ACD.

But how do you know if you are intolerant or allergic to nickel? A skin test, called a patch test, is used to diagnose this allergy, and is administered in an outpatient clinic. Once you have confirmation of the allergy, the only cure is to avoid contact with the allergen altogether. In the case of nickel, it is objectively difficult to completely eliminate contact, as it is practically ever-present, it is important to avoid all the known sources of this metal.

In particular, it is important to choose personal hygiene products that have undergone tests to ensure their safety, even on sensitive and hyperactive skin.

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