Contact dermatitis (CD) is a skin inflammation caused by some substances with which we come in contact during everyday life and/or when at work. These substances may be present in cosmetics or in household cleaning products (soaps, detergents, creams, perfumes, deodorants, solvents, etc.), in clothing and in shoes, in foods, in medicines for topical use (e.g. antimycotics, antibiotics, corticosteroids) and in other products in common use. Contact dermatitis strikes especially the hands, which are most exposed to contact with allergens, but more and more frequently also the feet, legs and other parts of the body, due to the substances contained in shoes and clothing (e.g. rubber, glues, metals such as nickel, potassium dichromate used in tanning leather/hide, dyes, formaldehyde, fabric conditioners, etc.).
There are two types of Contact dermatitis:
- Irritative Contact Dermatitis caused by irritating substances (80% of cases);
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis caused by allergens able to trigger an inflammatory reaction that involves the immune system in sensitised subjects (20% of cases; it appears 48-72 hours after exposure to the allergen).
One of the main factors that can contribute to the development of contact dermatitis is the alteration of the skin barrier which facilitates the penetration of irritating substances/allergens (for example, cuts and abrasions, dry skin or presence of atopic dermatitis). Another discriminating factor concerns the chemical nature of the substance, its quantity and concentration, as well as the length and frequency of exposure. Then there are individual factors related to the resistance of the skin which modifies naturally during life (weaker in children and in the elderly), and heredity factors, so different people have different reactions to the same allergen. We also have to consider the environmental and/or occupational factors to which the person is exposed (for example, a hot-damp working environment, use of non-breathing waterproof gloves/shoes, etc.).
Microair Barrier is the barrier fabric designed and patented by Alpretec with which gloves and socks are made for people suffering from Contact Dermatitis. The fabric creates a barrier between the skin and the allergen, while still letting it breathe.
The efficacy of this fabric is demonstrated by the following studies:
- Efficacy of a new barrier glove in the treatment of chronic hand eczema
(Kinaciyan T. et al., Poster Presentation EAACI Congress, Warsaw, 6-10 June 2009);
- "Efficacy of New Barrier Socks in the Treatment of Foot Allergic Contact Dermatitis"
(Published on Acta Dermato-Venerologica Vol.91 - Issue 1; 2010);
- Use of new “Barrier socks” in contact allergic dermatitis” CASE REPORT
(Borghesan F. and Bellotti);
- A new barrier glove shows comparable efficacy to a potent steroid in the treatment of mild to moderate severe chronic hand eczema
(Kinaciyan T. et al., Poster presentation EAACI Congress, London, 5-9 June 2010).