Allergic to leather – what is it and how to diagnose it

Allergic to leather

Allergic to leather – what is it and how to diagnose it

The world is full of strange allergies. From the food you eat to the clothes you wear, you can be allergic to almost anything. But it still might surprise you to know that one of those things can be leather!

You can find this material, made from animals, on bags, shoes, jackets, and sofas. If someone suffers from a leather allergy, they will usually have reactions on their skin after wearing or touching leather. It’s strange, but it’s true!

What causes it?

The process to create leather requires a lot of different chemicals. Patients with a leather allergy are normally allergic to dimethyl fumarate (DMF), which helps with the tanning process. This chemical is used for its antifungal properties, but unfortunately, it can cause uncomfortable skin reactions for those allergic to it. If left untreated, these skin reactions can be really painful.  

What are the symptoms of a leather allergy?

If you’re allergic and come into contact with leather, the skin gets red and tender. Commonly known as a rash, you might know it as its medical name – contact dermatitis. Other symptoms of contact dermatitis include itchy, burning, peeling, or dry skin.

A leather allergy can be difficult to diagnose for many reasons. The first is that symptoms of this allergy are often delayed. They can also occur after prolonged exposure rather than instant contact. The symptoms of contact dermatitis are also very similar to eczema, highlighting the importance of getting a diagnosis by a board-certified allergist.

How is a leather allergy diagnosed?

Normally an allergist can spot a leather allergy by examining your feet, hands, and wrists – the most common place for symptoms to appear. When the diagnosis is unclear, they will use a patch test. This is the most accurate way to test it and works by applying small amounts of the allergen to the skin via patches. After removing them, an allergist will examine your skin.

After a diagnosis, an allergist will provide a treatment plan to help manage current symptoms and offer advice to avoid unwanted symptoms in the future.

Living allergy-free isn’t always easy, but it isn’t impossible. Don’t risk putting your health and life at risk. Request an allergy test with us today or visit our website to find out how we can help you.

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