May 15, 2018

7 Unusual Allergen Sources

Allergy to sun may not be as common as pollen or dust mite allergies, but the sun does trigger allergic reaction in a certain number of people. There are even more unusual allergens out there, including cosmetics, cell phone, tattoos, shoes leathers, et cetera, et cetera. Here, we will talk about seven odd allergy triggers.




Solar urticaria (SU) is a rare allergic condition that causes you to break into hives after exposure to the sun. The symptoms, such as stinging and itching, usually occur within about 30 minutes of being in the sun, and they often disappear after you get out of the sunlight. According to researchers, ultraviolet (UV) radiation is to blame, which means that artificial light producing UV rays can also trigger solar urticaria.

Leather Shoes


Your favorite leather shoes may also cause an allergic reaction on your skin. The symptoms may vary from redness, rash, hives, and itchiness to swelling. Such a reaction is more likely to be triggered by some chemicals used in tanning or coloring, rather than the leather itself. Thus, a chemical potassium dichromate, commonly used to tan the leather, as well as dyes like paraphenylenediamine (PPD) can cause allergies in some people. Besides, allergies may also be triggered by the glues that are used in manufacturing shoes and added decorations.

What is more, shoes boxes often contain little sachets containing dimethyl fumarate (DMF), which helps to prevent the mold from growing. However, some people may be allergic to this chemical.

Cell Phones


Skin allergies can be caused by metals, such as nickel or cobalt, which are commonly used in manufacturing cell phones. If you have a nickel or cobalt allergy, exposure to these metals will lead to the development of dry itchy patches of skin on your cheeks, jaw lines, and hands. Nickel is also contained in coins, but allergic reactions to coins are rare, since contact is usually brief. However, we can spend hours holding a cellphone in our hands. According to a study, children under the age of 18 are more likely to react to metal-containing products.

To prevent a reaction, you can use a plastic case on the phone, avoiding direct skin contact. If you are planning to buy a new phone, consider those that does have metal on open surfaces.

Tattoos and Piercings


Estimated 24 percent of Americans aged from 18 to 50 years have tattoos and 14 percent have at least one piercing. Sometimes, these body decorations cause allergic reactions, and it may take up to several years for the symptoms of allergy to tattoo ink or piercing to appear. Allergens are found in certain pigments used in tattoos, especially red, green, yellow, and blue dyes. Piercings often contain nickel, which is also an allergy trigger.

Even temporary tattoos made using henna may cause allergies, even though this is rare. Some darker hues of henna hair dye, for instance, contain a chemical called p-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause skin reactions.




According to a research conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the average person uses about 12 other personal care products every day that may contain up to 168 chemicals. Many of the chemicals contained in cosmetics are allergenic.

People with cosmetics allergy are often sensitive to the preservatives used in cosmetic products. For your interest, preservatives are used in nearly all the products containing water. Skin allergies haven been mostly associated with additives, including parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables


People allergic to grass pollen, ragweed, or birch pollen may also experience allergy symptoms after eating certain raw fruits and vegetables. This cross-reaction is usually a result of oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or pollen fruits syndrome (PFS).

Thus, if you have a grass allergy, you may develop a reaction when eating oranges, peaches, melons, celery and tomatoes, while allergy to birch tree pollen may cause allergy to raw fruits with pits or carrots. People allergic to ragweed may cross-react to melons, bananas, cucumbers, and zucchini.

If you are affected by the oral allergy syndrome, you can avoid reactions to fruits and veggies by cooking them first. In most cases, this is enough to get rid of allergenic proteins.



Mold is one of the most common allergens. If you have a mold allergy, you most likely know that mold tends to accumulate in wet places, like bathroom, kitchen, or basement. However, mold spores can also be found in the soil in your houseplants. While mold is not good for plants, it can trigger allergies in people.

When getting a new plant, make sure to use sterile soil and water the plants only when they get dry. If you find mold in the soil, you can scoop it off from the top and replace with clean soil. To prevent mold from returning, you can add apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or cinnamon to the soil of your plants.

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