Transfer contact dermatitis could blur true allergens
Not all contact allergens come into direct contact with the part of the body that experiences the effects of an allergic reaction. For example, individuals who develop contact dermatitis on their face may want to investigate whether they are allergic to an irritant they transfer from their hands, such as nail polish, instead of assuming they are allergic to makeup or face cream.
Ectopic contact dermatitis, also known as transfer contract dermatitis, involves the transmission of an allergen from one area of the body to the other. In many instances, an individual will touch something they are allergic to and place their hands on a more sensitive area of their body, such as the eyelids.
One known instance of this reaction involves rosin, a compound used primarily by athletes to enhance their grip. Dermatology Online Journal studied one avid bowler who developed dermatitis all over her body. After being advised by doctors to discontinue using rosin while bowling, the patient's symptoms subsided, although a rash on her face lingered for a longer period of time. This was because rosin residue was so present throughout the bowling alley that she was unable to avoid exposure to it entirely.
Nail polish can produce a similar reaction among those that use this product and are prone to touching their faces.
Individuals suffering from transfer contact dermatitis simply need to conduct trials to determine what they are actually allergic too. Because the face is more sensitive to allergens than the hands, any person that touches his or her face often may have difficulty determining what specifically is afflicting them.
These individuals may need to alter their behaviors either by avoiding environments in which an allergen is present or discontinuing the use of products containing an allergen. They may also benefit by making a conscious effort not to touch their faces as often.