What are allergies and allergens?
An allergy is a condition caused by inappropriate or exaggerated response of the body's defence system (the immune system) to a substance that in the majority of people causes no symptoms. Allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema are common allergies. An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction.
A recent study, "The rising prevalence of atopic eczema and environmental trauma to the skin" by Cork et al, published in Dermatology in Practice, concludes that the worrying levels of eczema amongst children today could be explained by our daily washing and skincare routines, and the way we live in our homes. The past 40 years has seen a huge rise in use of products that can damage the skin, such as soap and detergent based bubble-baths, gels and even baby wipes containing perfume and alcohol.