Some people are allergic to cosmetic products and perfumes. Until now, it was unclear what triggers these reactions. Now scientists at Columbia University, Monash University, and Harvard Medical School have found some allergic elements present in cosmetics that can stimulate T cells in humans. The trial has focused on minor chemicals that usually exist in botanical extracts and essential oils. The researchers have also analyzed the role of CD1a, a common protein present in the skin of humans. They say it plays a crucial role in stimulating allergic reactions to cosmetics.
The research, published in the journal Science Immunology, has discovered various chemicals that have emerged as hits. It also includes analysis of farsenol, an alcohol used in cosmetics as a fragrance. To revel the role of CD1a, scientists have used Balsam of Peru. It is an oily tree gum present in various organic as well as cosmetic products, including soaps and toothpaste. According to researchers, many CD1a particles contain natural blockers that would inhibit an excessive immune response. Even more, CD1a is a significant protein present in the human skin’s outer layer. Well, the reaction starts if T cells present in the immune system identify a chemical as an external body. Usually, T cells do not recognize tiny chemicals. Thus the study suggests it is essential for small chemicals to combine with a larger protein. As a result, they become visible to T cells.
Annemieke de Jong, the study’s co-author, said many small elements of cosmetic products that initiate allergies lack the chemical groups essential for this reaction to take place. She also noted that T cells are unable to track these small chemicals. The study suggests various chemicals that initiate ACD (allergic contact dermatitis) can combine with the molecules of CD1a and activate T cells. Jong noted their research reveals the role of chemicals in triggering T cell activities. The study does set the ground for the upcoming studies to validate the mechanism in allergic people. Even more, it would assist in developing inhibitors for the reactions.