Beware of itchy nightmare

Soap allergies are complex to detect. Ask your dermatologist to help you treat your skin properly. /123rf
Soap allergies are complex to detect. Ask your dermatologist to help you treat your skin properly. /123rf

We often take for granted that we can get any jewellery, clothes and accessories we want.

Well, some people are not so lucky. Wearing certain fabrics, jewellery and even shoes can be an itchy nightmare.

"The condition is called contact dermatitis, or eczema, which is a condition that causes skin irritation, making it dry, itchy and inflamed," explains dermatologist Sandy McKenzie.

"In the case of contact dermatitis, certain trigger objects, be it the fibres or ingredients that went into the manufacturing of those products, can cause the irritation when they come in contact with the skin on particular individuals whose skin may be sensitive to those particular products."

McKenzie says that contact dermatitis can come from different sources, namely:

The horror of not being able to wear particular clothes!

But yes, this is a reality as McKenzie explains that certain fabrics can trigger a skin reaction.

"Certain clothes are made from fabrics that have chemical additives such as dyes, glues, rubber, studs or finishing and tanning agents that usually cause textile contact dermatitis in some individuals.

"Synthetic and natural fibres can cause contact dermatitis, so we really cannot say that certain synthetic or natural fibres are the devil, although most cases of textile contact dermatitis have been reported in synthetic materials like nylon, polyester, rubber and spandex."

"Footwear usually undergoes long processing procedures before we see the final products on the isles of our favourite stores. The most common causes of shoe contact dermatitis are the chromates like formaldehyde and potassium dichromate usually used in the tanning of leather shoes.

"They are the usual triggers," she said. "Also, the dyes, polish and some of the embellishments that go into shoes can be potential contact dermatitis triggers."

Contact dermatitis as a result of a particular brand of soap is usually complex to pick up, because different soaps use different ingredients to stay competitive in the market.

So a thorough investigation by a dermatologist to determine the root cause ingredient is usually recommended.

Even certain perfumes added to certain soaps can be a big problem.

"That said, the most common cause of soap contact dermatitis in my experiences is the ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate, which usually creates lather."

"Most people are often under the assumption that they are allergic to gold or silver jewellery when in fact they are allergic to nickel.

"A nickel allergy is quite common. Most less costly jewellery will see the manufacturers using the metal nickel for jewellery design and plating it with gold and silver to give it an authentic look at a much lesser price.

"Affected areas usually include places where the skin came into contact with the particular jewellery; the earlobes, neck, fingers and wrists."