Leather allergy

leather belt image by Leonid Nyshko from Fotolia.com

Leather is a popular material for coats, belts, purses, shoes and many other garments and products. Unfortunately, some people have allergies to leather. Symptoms can vary among individuals, as can the various treatments.


Leather allergies fall under an umbrella of problems that people have with everyday chemicals. The condition is called multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome (MCSS), which can cause skin reactions as well as more severe allergic reactions.


The chromium VI (hexavalent chromium) in leather garments can cause skin reactions to leather. Leather allergies can also be caused by tanning dyes or chemicals such as biocides, which are used to kill fungus and mould on leather skins, and degreasers that remove animal fat. Other chemicals include surfactants, ammonium chloride, formic acid and sulphuric acid.


Besides skin reactions, people with leather allergies can have symptoms such as burning eyes, headaches, dizziness, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath or asthma and even digestive problems.


The best way to prevent leather allergies is to avoid purchasing leather products and staying away from stores that carry leather products. Antihistamines may help reduce a person's reaction to leather. Moreover, some allergy doctors prescribe sublingual allergy drops, which can help neutralise the effects of chemicals on individuals.


Anyone who experiences leather allergy symptoms should get rid of the offending item or remove themselves from a situation where they are overexposed to leather. Over time, leather allergy symptoms can become more severe. Leather allergy symptoms are often hard to overcome the sicker one becomes.

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