top of page

Chemicals That Can Trigger Allergies

Author: Lucy Chen

Editors: Hwi-On Lee and Rishika Tellamsetty

Artist: Lilian Chen

Allergic reactions occur when the body's immune system responds to a foreign substance that is typically harmless. Various substances can trigger allergic reactions, including chemicals in everyday products.

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a strong odor that is frequently found in building materials like particleboard and plywood. It can also be seen in certain beauty care products, materials, and family items, like deodorizers and cleaning specialists. Formaldehyde can irritate the skin, aggravate the respiratory system, and trigger allergic reactions. Formaldehyde has been classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), indicating that it is a substance that can cause cancer in humans. Studies have demonstrated how formaldehyde can cause sharpening, increasing sensitivities in certain people. An investigation discovered that regular contact with formaldehyde was related to susceptibility to rhinitis in adults.

Personal care items like soaps, shampoos, lotions, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners frequently contain fragrances. They can also be found in some food products, which can cause some individuals to become allergic. Limonene, linalool, and eugenol are common fragrance allergens. On product labels, the term "fragrance" can refer to a mix of dozens or even hundreds of different chemicals, many of which are not listed. Customers have difficulty identifying and avoiding particular allergens as a result.

Skin irritation, respiratory issues, and headaches are all symptoms of fragrance allergies. A 2019 study found that fragrance allergy was the most common cause of contact dermatitis within a group of patients with suspected allergic contact dermatitis.

Parabens are a class of preservatives that are frequently utilized in food products and personal care items like sunscreens and cosmetics. They have been linked to hormone disruption and have been known to trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors and can mimic estrogen in the body; however, the connection between parabens and cancer is still poorly understood. Studies have shown that parabens can cause skin refinement and hypersensitivity. A review in 2017 found that exposure to parabens was related to an expanded gamble of hypersensitive refinement in kids.

Nickel is a metallic component that is regularly utilized in gems, coins, and other metal things. When it comes into contact with the skin, it can trigger an allergic reaction that can cause redness, itchiness, and other symptoms. Nickel allergies are one of the most prevalent types of metal allergies and can be challenging to avoid due to the presence of nickel in numerous everyday items like cell phones, eyeglass frames, and zippers. Nickel has been linked to sensitization and allergic reactions in several studies. A 2018 study observed that nickel was the most widely recognized reason for metal sensitivity in a gathering of patients who were thought to have this condition.

Chemical reactions are a common issue since many common products contain chemicals that cause allergic reactions. But by monitoring these synthetic compounds and keeping away from items that contain them, people can reduce the possibility of producing such reactions. It is essential to keep in mind that various chemicals may be referred to by different names; consequently, it is essential to carefully read product labels and conduct research to identify potential allergens. In addition, allergies may be more common in some people than in others, so if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, you should see a doctor right away.



De Groot, A.C. "Formaldehyde-Releasers in Cosmetics: Relationship to Formaldehyde

Contact Allergy." Contact

Dermatitis, vol. 77, no. 2, 2017, pp. 69-78.

Johansen, J.D., et al. "Fragrance Allergy: A Clinical Review." Contact Dermatitis, vol. 80, no.

1, 2019, pp. 1-13.

Katsarou, A., et al. "Parabens Exposure in Children: Relationship with Sensitization and

Asthma." Environmental Health,

vol. 16, no. 1, 2017, pp. 64-70.

Meding, B., et al. "Nickel Allergy: Local and Systemic Manifestations." Current Opinion in

Allergy and Clinical

Immunology, vol. 18, no. 5, 2018, pp. 343-347.

Schwensen, J.F., et al. "Formaldehyde Exposure and Risk of Allergic Sensitization and

Allergic Rhinitis in Adult Danes."

International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, vol. 220, no. 5, 2017, pp.


11 views0 comments


bottom of page