Knee protectors can cause skin problems

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Washington, Jan 12 (ANI): A new research has revealed that knee protectors can form allergenic substances on the skin.

"Substances that appear at first glance to be harmless can cause allergic reactions since skin enzymes may help to form new, allergenic substances from them, giving rise to dermatitis and other skin problems," said Kristin Samuelsson of the University of Gothenburg.

"This is the case for isothiocyanates, which are formed on the skin following repeated contact with rubber," Samuelsson said.

Isothiocyanates are potent contact allergens that occur naturally in vegetables. They are used also in technical products.

Samuelsson used fluorescent isothiocyanates to study how allergenic substances are absorbed by the skin and lymph nodes, after being applied to the skin.

The results show that the reactive isothiocyanates are mainly restricted to the outermost layer of skin (known as the "stratum corneum"), which consists of dead cells. Even so, the isothiocyanates that were tested were potent allergens.

Diphenylthiourea is a substance that is used in the production of rubber, including the neoprene rubber that is used in mouse mats, wetsuits, knee protectors and other products with which we have close and frequent contact.

Isothiocyanates are among the substances that are formed from diphenylthiourea when it is applied to skin.

The number of patients with reported allergies against neoprene rubber is not actually very high, but this may be because it is difficult to confirm such allergies. (ANI)

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