Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
Health Centers
Key Services
Which of the following is an antioxidant?
Vitamin E
Vitamin B

 What Doctors Don't Tell You: Contact dermatitis 
What Doctors Don't Tell You © (Volume 12, Issue 9)
Q I would like your advice for the son of a friend of mine. James, 22, had eczema as a child. His passion in life is motorcycles and, thus, he comes into contact with cleaning chemicals as well as oil, grease and the like.

He has now been diagnosed with contact dermatitis, and the steroid cream has made the skin on his hands very thin, which prevents him working with his hands (even with gloves). James is now unable to find a job, which is making him more and more depressed. I hope you can help him.- DVE, Haywards Heath, West Sussex

A Contact dermatitis is a catch-all phrase which basically means a skin inflammation caused by being ‘in contact’ with something that triggers an irritation or allergic reaction. There are two types of contact dermatitis: primary irritant contact dermatitis refers to a condition caused by contact with a substance that is irritating or harsh; allergic contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to a substance.

The body part involved is almost always a clue to the offending substance. Dermatitis of the hands usually means a detergent, an oil, tar or rubber compound, latex, chemical soap or something else he was handling.

As James had eczema, it sounds as though he has a predilection to allergy and the chemicals he is coming into contact with are now the final straw - pushing his body into toxic overload.

It’s impossible to know exactly what James is allergic to, but with machinery, it could be the grease or oil, the chemicals, or even the hand cleansers and detergents to clean them off.

Many of those whose occupation involves extensive cleaning and soaping of the skin develop dehydration or shrivelling of the keratin layers of the skin of the hands, which can lead to the primary irritant type of contact dermatitis.

Fair-skinned people working in lots of water can often develop dermatitis, as skin is acidic and water is alkaline, particularly ‘hard’ water containing high concentrations of calcium and magnesium.

When skin is continuously exposed to soaps and detergents, this can impair the skin’s alkaline neutralisation process, causing drying and fissuring of the keratin layer, thus allowing increased permeability and then allergy to even ordinarily well-tolerated substances. So what began as a primary irritant contact dermatitis may sensitise an individual, triggering off a chronic allergy to an increasing array of substances.

According to the Dermatology Society, even hand soaps, which contain tiny particles of talc, borax, cornmeal or pumice to make them more effective, can be irritating and sensitising. Other triggers include fabric finishes, dyes, cosmetics, perfume, wood resins, insecticides, plastics, paints, glue, metals, polishes and fibreglass. Yet other culprits are the solvents found in many cleaning solutions.

Another common sensitiser is paraphenylenediamine, a chemical used in hair dyes. Women can also be sensitised by eyeliner, nail polish, contact lens wetting solutions, lipsticks, perfumes, sunscreen preparations containing PABA and toothpaste.

To make matters worse, all these chemicals can interact with other chemicals. Methyleneparaphenylenediamine, for example, crossreacts with sulphonamides and thiazides, PABA in sunscreens, the oral antidiabetics tolbutamide and chlorpropamide, and even the artificial sweetener saccharin.

It is likely that the chemicals James has worked with have triggered this type of progressive sensitisation, making an already allergic individual hypersensitive to a variety of substances (see our article on multiple chemical sensitivity, WDDTY, vol 8 no 8).

CONTINUED    1  2  Next   
 Comments Add your comment 

 About The Author
What Doctors Don't Tell You What Doctors Don’t Tell You is one of the few publications in the world that can justifiably claim to solve people's health problems - and even save lives. Our monthly newsletter gives you the facts you won't......more
 From Our Friends
Popular & Related Products
Popular & Featured Events
Error Reading Event Calendar
Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness, Feeling, dimension!

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Wellness Inventory       Wellness Center
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us
Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Are you ready to embark on a personal wellness journey with our whole person approach?
Learn More/Subscribe
Are you looking to create or enhance a culture of wellness in your organization?
Learn More
Do you want to become a wellness coach?
Learn More
Free Webinar