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The Physiology of Allergic Reactions

SpecialChem / Nick Morante – Apr 17, 2007

Skin reactions are caused by materials containing allergens coming in contact with the skin. This reaction is also called contact dermatitis and is characterized by a red, itchy, rash which develops shortly after exposure to the material. The extent of the reaction can be somewhat mild to extremely severe. Most of the time the irritation can start one-half to five days after contact but on average it is usually 2 to 3 days after contact. The reaction then subsides in about a week leaving very dry skin which becomes rough and often peels. The reason for this is that the reaction is really an infection involving while blood cells which recognize the allergen as a foreign substance and with any infection, a rash may develop with heat being released. This heat releases moisture resulting in skin dryness and then peeling of the dead surface layer of skin. There are many allergens that have been identified, many of which are natural ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products.

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