New discovery on the causes of contact allergy

Oct 12, 2010

The fragrances used in many household and skincare products can cause contact allergy when exposed to oxygen in the air, reveals research from the University of Gothenburg's Faculty of Science in conjunction with the University of Gothenburg to be presented at the dermatologist conference in Gothenburg.

The researchers studied how these substances can be activated through contact with oxygen in the air, and how this, in turn, can affect the skin. One particular study looked at whether the activated fragrances caused contact allergy when tested on eczema patients at Sahlgrenska University Hospital's Clinic and the Occupational and Environmental Dermatology Clinic in Malmo. It was found that a high percentage of the 3,400 eczema patients tested had an allergic reaction to the substances.

"In a bid to gain a deeper understanding of how contact allergy occurs, we are now using state-of-the-art microscopic equipment to follow what happens to an once it gets into the skin," says Ann-Therese Karlberg, professor of dermatochemistry and skin allergy at the Faculty of Science's Department of Chemistry, and a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

When determining how allergenic a substance is, consideration must also be given to the skin's ability to activate a substance through the metabolism.

"We've developed a mixture that reflects the content of real skin enzymes, and use it to investigate whether the chemical substances can be activated in the skin and become allergenic."

Their discovery will help the health service to diagnose allergic contact eczema correctly through the development of new diagnostic tools, and reduce the number of cases of allergic contact eczema in the long term. For patients, the right diagnosis means that they can avoid exposure to substances that trigger the problem, and so give their eczema a chance to heal.

"Future work will see us evaluating new diagnostic methods and carrying out in-depth studies of what goes on in the . This will enable us to develop new medicines and replace the only treatment that is currently available for , namely cortisone cream," explains Karlberg, who believes that their research could improve preventive work through its impact on manufacturers, consumers and legislation.

Explore further: Strategies can help docs lower their tax burden

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists to test new eczema cream

Jul 27, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Skin experts are to test a new cream for the treatment of eczema after trials of an oral version of the drug reduced patients’ symptoms by 35% within a month.

Recommended for you

The human race evolved to be fair for selfish reasons

23 hours ago

"Make sure you play fairly," often say parents to their kids. In fact, children do not need encouragement to be fair, it is a unique feature of human social life, which emerges in childhood. When given the o ...

Non-stop PET/CT scan provides accurate images

Sep 18, 2014

Siemens is improving PET/CT imaging and data quality while reducing radiation exposure. The Biograph mCT Flow PET/CT scanner is a new positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system that, ...

Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

Sep 17, 2014

The preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin contains signs of tuberculosis and possibly some other lung disease, medical experts said Wednesday.

User comments : 0