Allergens are substance that
cause the immunity system to trigger and fight against it. In normal
cases, and in the majority this happens when foreign bodies such
as bacteria, enter our body. However, innocent and harmless bodies
(proteins) such as pollen, peanuts, milk, penicillin etc. may not
be recognised by out immune system and keep thinking of them being
a harmful foreign body. On the other hand, wasps and other insects
produce allergens as a self defence for themselves.
Below are three lists consisting
- Natural Common
- Chemical Allergens
and Food Additives
Fish and Shellfish
substances and products
Allergens and Others
For a printable version
of the following list click here.
Nickel is one of the most common metals in our environment,
and is the most common contact sensitises world-wide. About 10%
of all women are sensitive to nickel sulphate and react to metal
objects in direct contact with the skin.
Wool fat and wool alcohols are extensively used in cosmetic
products and topical medicaments such as ointments, creams, lotions
and soaps. Wool alcohol is the fraction of lanolin in which the
allergen(s) are found. The structure of the allergen is unknown.
Although lanolin is a weak sensitizer, allergy is not uncommon because
of its frequent use on inflamed skin or as an emollient.
Neomycin sulphate is an antibiotic in the aminoglycoside group
that is used topically in ointments, creams, ear drops and nose
drops. Neomycin sulphate consists of three different chemical substances,
all of which are sensitizers. The neomycin sulphate patch test reaction
often develops slowly and should be evaluated 4-5 days after application
Soluble chromium salts may cause contact dermatitis and are
found in wet cement, chrome tanned leather, welding fumes, cutting
oils and anti rust paints. Metallic chromium has an oxidized surface
and no soluble chromium is released. The metal is thus non-allergenic.
Caine mix contains three anaesthetics for topical use - benzocaine,
dibucaine hydrochloride and tetracaine hydrochloride. Caine mix
anaesthetics are used in medicaments that reduce pain, itching and
stinging. They are also found in haemorrhoidal preparations and
cough syrups. Caines are moderate sensitizers, but are often used
on inflamed skin, and therefore allergic sensitization is not uncommon.
Fragrance mix contains eight common fragrances, also known to
be sensitizers - cinnamic alcohol, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, alpha-amylcinnamic
aldehyde, isoeugenol, geraniol, hydroxycitronellal and oak moss.
The perfumes of the fragrance mix occur in most toiletries, soaps,
after shave lotions, shampoos, scented household products and in
many industrial products such as cutting fluids.
Colophony is a resin obtained from different conifer species.
It is found in adhesive, tape, sticker sealant, lacquers, varnishes,
cosmetics, soldering materials, and many industrial products. Paper
contains small amounts of colophony. The allergens of colophony
are not altogether known, but are assumed to be present among the
resin acids, which are main ingredients of colophony or among their
oxidation products. A mixture of colophonies of different origin
is an excellent clinical indicator of colophony allergy.
Epoxy resin is the diglycidylether of bisphenol-A and is found
in strong, two-part plastic adhesives. Only the resin - the uncured
epoxy - is sensitizing, and the 340 monomer the essential sensitizer.
Quinoline mix contains clioquinol and chloroquinadol, two antimicrobials
used in medicated creams and ointments for wound infections and
infected eczemas. Quinolines are not uncommon sensitizers in countries
where they are used.
Balsam of Peru is a wood extract from the South American tree
Myroxylon pedere. In the past, it was commonly incorporated
as fragrance in cosmetics, medical creams and ointments and used
as flavouring in teas, tobaccos, cough syrups, colas, ice creams,
baked goods and many other foods. It is decreasingly used, but gives
a good indication of fragrance sensitivity, as it includes
several different fragrances that sensitize, such as benzyl cinnamate,
benzylbenzoate, cinnamic aldehyde and isoeugenol.
Ethylenediarnine is an emulsifier and stabilizer found in both
medicated and non-medicated topical preparations such as creams
and nose drops. It is used industrially as a solvent, curing and
Metallic cobalt and cobalt salts are strong sensitizers, and
are found in many metal plated objects including buckles, buttons
and zips, but also in artists' paints, wet cement and hard metal.
Cobalt is often found together with nickel, and allergy occurs to
both these metals in 25% of nickel sensitivity. This is not regarded
as true cross sensitivity.
p-tert-butylphenol formaldehyde resin is a condensation product
of formaldehyde and p-tert-butylphenol. It is a source material
for many waterproof glues and finishes, and is frequently used in
the construction and shoe industries. It is found in leather goods,
furniture, rockwool, hard board, high quality paper and glossy fabrics.
Phenolformaldehyde resins are a group of more or less condensed
substances. Many of them sensitize. P-tert-butylphenol formaldehyde
resin indicates most of this sensitivity.
The mixture contains five different parabens; methyl-, ethyl-,
propyl-, butyl- and benzyl-parahydroxybenzoate. Parabens are the
most used topical preservatives worldwide. Parabens are found in
several medical creams, lotions, pastes, and in several cosmetics
and skin care products. Parabens are used as food preservatives
and industrially in oils, fats and glues. Sensitivity to parabens
is not uncommon although rare in relation to their widespread usage.
Parabens are lipophilic and have low irritant and sensitizing potential.
Three rubber chemicals, 1 .3-diphenylguanidine, zinc diethyldithiocarbamate
and zinc dibutyldithiocarbamate are contained in this mixture. These
chemicals are strong antimicrobials and antioxidants, and are used
to stabilize rubber. They are found in almost all rubber products
including shoes, tool handles, electric cords,
etc. They are also found in adhesives for leather, some vinyl
products and are ingredients of pesticides. Dithiocarbamates transform
to thiurams on exposure to oxygen. Therefore, carbamate
and thiuram allergic reactions often occur in parallel.
Ncyclohexyl-N1-phenyl paraphenylenediamine and
N,N1-diphenyl paraphenylene diamine are antioxidants
and polymerization inhibitors found in almost all black rubber products
including tyres, handles, rubber washers, hoses and gloves. Hair
dye products are related and may occasionally cross react. The black
rubber chemicals are strong sensitizers.
A mixture of two allergens; Schloro-2-methylA-isothiazolin-3-one
and 2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3~ne, the chloromethyl derivative being
the more sensitizing. Kathon CG is a widespread preservative in
cosmetics and commercial household products such as shampoos, creams,
lotions, cleaners and washing materials. It is also a widely used
industrial preservative for cutting fluids.
Quaternium-1 5, 1 (3~hloroallyl)-3,5,7.triaza-1 -azonium-adamantane
chloride is a preservative found in cosmetics such as lotions, creams,
shampoos and soaps. It is also found in commercial products such
as polishes, cleaners, and in industrial products such as cutting
fluids and paints. Quaternium-15 is a formaldehyde releaser.
Individuals reacting to this compound may either be allergic to
formaldehyde or have a specific sensitivity. Quaternium-15 has low
potential to irritate and sensitizers.
a vulcanization accelerator used in rubber products such as shoes,
gloves, rubber bands, gaskets, electric cords. It is also found
in adhesives and as a fungicide, bactericide and anticorrosive agent
in cutting oils and greases. MBT is a moderately strong sensitizer
and a moderately irritant chemical.
PPD is a blue-black aniline dye. Together with (elated compounds
it is found in many dyed textiles, leather, and fur. Permanent and
semi-permanent hair dyes may contain PPD or related chemicals, which
to some extent cross react. It may also be found in dark cosmetics,
black rubber, photographic developers and printing inks. PPD is
readily oxidized in contact with atmospheric oxygen, but this reduces
the allergenic potency only marginally. It is an open question whether
the dye itself or an oxidation product is the essential allergen.
Formaldehyde is the initial component in the manufacture of
several plastics and synthetic resins. Residual amounts of formaldehyde
are released from such products. Formaldehyde releasing disinfectants
and preservatives are widely used in cosmetics, cleaning products
and many industrial products. Formaldehyde is found in glues, textiles
and some types of paper. There is a significant exposure to formaldehyde
in the construction industry from paints, hardboard, rockwool, plastics
and waterproof glues.
Morpholinyl mercaptobenzothiazol. N-Cyclohexyl benzothiazyl
sulphonamide and dibenzothiazyl disulphide are the allergens included.
Uke mercaptobenzothiazol these mercaptochemicals are vulcanisation
accelerators used in rubber products.
Thiomersal is a preservative used in contact lens fluids and
in particular cosmetics, such as eye shadows. It may also be used
as a preservative for eye and nose drops, and for some injectable
medicines, especially vaccines and gammaglobulin. Thiomersal contains
mercury, but cross reacts only marginally with metallic mercury
and the relevance of positive reactions is often hard to establish.
The thiuram mix includes three disulphides and one monosulphide.
They are strong antimicrobials and antioxidants. They are found
in almost all rubber products, including shoes, gloves, condoms,
elastic bands, tool handles, gaskets and electric cables. They are
also found in adhesives for leather and vinyl products and
are ingredients of pesticides, insect repellents, antiscabies medication,
fungicides, wood preservatives, paint additives, lubricating oils
and the drug disulfiram (Antabuse). There is an interaction between
the disulphides of the mix which form an equilibrium of six disulphides.
The cross-reaction pattern of these disulphides has not yet been
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