Who doesn’t find it annoying when the skin care products that claim to moisturize, rejuvenate, and exfoliate the skin instead causes some part of your skin to break out into a rash? Contact dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions. As an irritant dermatitis, these reactions are usually pretty mild. Sometimes they will go away completely once your skin has time to acclimate. Allergic dermatitis may cause a stronger rash but still typically subsides after a few days. (Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is another kind of skin rash that isn’t connected to coming into contact with foreign substances, but can nevertheless complicate and provide further irritation to the skin.)
Currently, the best plan of action for severe contact dermatitis is to conduct skin allergy tests to determine what is causing the dermatitis and then avoiding those products and substances that are causing the skin rash.
A central mystery of contact dermatitis involves the size and structure of the molecules that absorb into the skin. Contact dermatitis is the immune system reacting to a foreign substance, and T-Cells are the immune system’s primary detection cells. But how is this possible when T-Cells can’t detect molecules as small as those that cause dermatitis? Dermatology researchers now think they have an answer. The CD1A molecule binds to several different types of chemicals, including some that are found in skincare products, like benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate. Once these molecules are bound together the T-Cells can detect and there is the possibility for dermatitis to occur. Another chemical, farnesol, goes further by creating a deeper bond that changes the shape of the CD1A molecule.
At the very least, it means dermatologists will be able to provide a fuller explanation of Why Skin Creams Give You Rashes. Ideally, we will discover new molecules that can bind with CD1A molecules with leading to contact dermatitis. These molecules would then block benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate from binding with CD1A. This minimizes, if not eliminates, dermatitis as a result.
In some cases, it may still be easier to simply avoid the substance that causes the contact dermatitis. However, there are promising implications for future research and product development. In the future, medical professionals with a latex allergy can apply a topical skin treatment that neutralizes allergic contact dermatitis. It’s also possible that new CD1A-binding molecules can used to create entirely new lines of more powerful, but still hypoallergenic, skin care products. If you read skin care blogs, like this one, you’ll invariably come across the advice to experiment with different products. This advice is a lot easier to follow when there’s negligible risk of a skin rash as a side effect. Thus, it’s also likely that more people would start and stick to a daily skin care routine.
Sometimes, there is no clear-cut line between cosmetic and medical dermatology issues. If you’ve been struggling with a recurring skin rash, and you’re not entirely sure about the underlying cause, you can get answers by making an appointment with West County Dermatology. If you’re trying to figure out how to maintain optimal skin health with a daily skin care routine that minimizes the chances of dermatitis and skin rash, we can help with this, too.
Contact our St. Louis skin care and dermatology clinic for a consultation. Get personalized advice about the best skin care products and routine for your skin type. We can also provide access to medical-grade skin care products when appropriate.