Intended for healthcare professionals

Common skin allergens: hazards on the high street

The high street has taken a pounding since the start of the recession, but the hair and beauty sector has flourished and is estimated to be worth billions of pounds. Many people feel that they are not blessed with natural beauty and need a little helping hand. This may be simply purchasing moisturisers or cosmetics over the counter or visiting the hairdresser or beauty salon. However, they may not fully appreciate the risks that they are exposing their skin to. The British Association of Dermatologists estimates that contact dermatitis accounts for between 4 and 7% of dermatological consultations and about 1–3% of the population are allergic to ingredients in cosmetics. Even when a contact allergy has been identified, shoppers need eagle-like vision to interrogate the ingredients’ lists of cosmetics, or be persistent and peel back one layer of label to reveal the list lurking below! The list of allergens commonly used in high-street products or services is surprisingly large, and the consequences wide-ranging.
Dermatology in practice 2013; 19(4): 4–8
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