Scientists find how creams, cosmetics cause skin rash

Grant Boone
January 7, 2020

Hypersensitive responses in the skin can be brought about by a wide range of concoction mixes found in creams, beautifying agents, and other topical shopper items, yet how they trigger the response has remained to some degree secretive.

An worldwide team of dermatologists, rheumatologists and immunologists has identified CD1a, a molecule found in human skin cells, as the culprit in a complex process that triggers allergic contact dermatitis, or ACD, an increasingly common condition, particularly in the United States.

Poison ivy has been commonly called a trigger for the disease however the reaction might also be caused by a lot of the ingredients of the consumer products and has highly become prevalent in the nations which are industrialized.

Researchers said the oil is not chemically manufactured so it is very popular but up to five percent of the population is allergic to it because it contains the small compounds which break down certain individuals immune systems, causing an allergic reaction.

"However, many small compounds in skincare products that trigger allergic contact dermatitis lack the chemical groups needed for this reaction to occur", says study co-leader Annemieke de Jong, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. "These little synthetics ought to be undetectable to T cells, however, they're not".

The study published this week in the journal Science Immunology showed that an abundant molecule on the immune cells in the skin's outer layer exposes those chemicals to T cells that orchestrate the immune system's response to foreign chemicals.

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Chemicals like balsam of Peru, and farnesol, which are found in many personal care products, such as skin creams, toothpaste, and fragrances, were found to trigger ACD through this mechanism.

These days, the one option to prevent allergic touch dermatitis is to spot and steer clear of touch with the offending chemical.

A team of worldwide researchers from Monash University, Columbia University and Harvard Medical School has discovered how some compounds contained in cosmetic and perfume products can activate human T cells, the sentinels of our immune system. Within Balsam of Peru, the researchers identified benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate as the chemicals responsible for the reaction, and overall they identified more than a dozen small chemicals that activated T cells through CD1a.

"We identified several compounds that can be recognized by T cells through CD1a, some of which are known allergens", de Jong explained.

Further research into the clinical significance of these molecular findings could now help scientists understand how those small chemicals induce ACD and potentially design strategies to revert their allergenic effect. Topical ointments can assist soothe the rashes, which in most cases transparent up in not up to a month. In severe cases, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids.

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