What’s Causing Your Irritating Rash?: Five Hidden Allergens You Need to Know About

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

skin rashA few weeks ago, my friend was telling me that she was being kept awake at nights by a mysterious “stinging” sensitivity on her eyelids. She had no idea what was causing the sensitivity, or why it continued for days at a time.

She keeps a clean home, so I didn’t think her allergies had anything to do with dirt or dust… Curious about what it could be, though, I did a little more research and you won’t believe what I discovered.

Almost anything can be an allergen—whether it’s natural or man-made. If you can’t kick the sniffles, rashes, or hives and have no idea what’s causing the symptoms—here are five hidden allergens that could be affecting you right now:

Cleansing Wipes

Packaged cleansing wipes—from baby wipes to makeup remover and other pre-moistened wipes—are a common allergen. The chemicals used in these wipes can be known allergens, and the reason the reactions have been increasing is because of their growing popularity. If you notice sensitivity or a rash developing after use, stop using them. Soap and water, or just a moist cloth, should be fine. It’s safer, natural, and cheaper!

Hand Creams and Moisturizers

There are almost too many ingredients—natural and chemical—to list in many of these products that are potential allergens. What’s even more interesting is that the allergy can lay dormant for years and appear out of nowhere. If you’ve been using the same hand cream or moisturizer for the past five years (or longer) but have recently noticed a sensitivity or rash, switch it up. I’d opt for natural moisturizers, like buttermilk, shea butter, or olive oil. Of course, you could be allergic to these, too, but it’s worth a shot.

Bed Sheets (or Rather, What’s in Them!)

There are microscopic organisms that are found in and on the furniture in your home. They feed on dead flakes of skin, so one of their more popular residences is in your bed sheets. These little guys thrive in moist, warm areas with dead skin flakes and they produce a fecal enzyme that can cause a number of allergic reactions. You can avoid this by washing your sheets once per week in warm water. Further, you can purchase mite-proof cases for your pillows and mattresses. These mites can live anywhere, especially in carpeting, so if it’s in the budget, cleaning wall-to-wall carpet can be very beneficial.

Nickel

This is an interesting one, and it’s quite common. You might experience a rash when you wear certain jewelry or clothing that contains nickel, but nickel is also found in a number of foods. Common in food that comes out of the ground—legumes, nuts, whole grains—nickel can cause symptoms like nausea, joint pain, and fatigue.

The Weather

It’s true; you might be allergic to the weather outside. “Heat rash” is a symptom of heat urticaria that can cause swelling, hives, and itching. You can also have cold urticaria, which causes similar symptoms from the cold.

The best way to learn if you’re allergic to something is using the process of elimination.

As for my friend—she changed her face wash and makeup remover, and the rash and sensitivity has since disappeared.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Joelving, F., “Wet wipes may cause rashes,” Reuters web site, June 21, 2010; http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/06/21/us-wet-wipes-cause-rashes-idUSTRE65K6FD20100621, last accessed July 24, 2015.
Zirwis, M., “Moisturizer Allergy,” Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology November 2008; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016930/, last accessed July 24, 2015.
“Dust Allergies,” American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology web site, 2014; http://acaai.org/allergies/types/dust-allergy, last accessed July 24, 2015.
Reitschel, R., et al., “Detection of Nickel Sensitivity Has Increased in North American Path-Test Patients,” Medscape web site, 2008; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/572961, last accessed July 24, 2015.
“Cold Urticaria,” Mayo Clinic web site, November 21, 2014; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-urticaria/basics/definition/con-20034524, last accessed July 24, 2015.

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