The majority of sofas in people’s houses are leather, and are fine to sit on and use by most people. But others react to the leather and wonder why it affects their skin.
Here Is How Leather Sofas Do Give Some People A Rash:
Some people have allergies and these are normally because of the chemicals within the tanning process (which makes the leather) which include petroleum, formaldehyde and coal-tar derivatives, mineral salts and oils. This can lead to contact dermatitis.
In this article we are going to talk about how leather sofas affect people and can cause a rash, why it does give you a rash, and what to do about it. I am sure you will find this piece informative.
Can Leather Sofas Give You A Rash?
Leather is made out of the hides or skin of animals. These are tanned to make leather.
Before tanning, the hides are processed in order to ensure that they don’t rot easily. Tanning makes the leather strong and durable for use as clothing, furniture, shoes, belts, purses, and upholstery – among other things.
Tanning is an expensive process. It’s done in special areas which are climate controlled and to strict regulations.
The chemicals used for tanning include formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, petroleum products, mineral salts, oils, and fats. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens (substances that cause cancer).
These affect not only the workers in the tanneries but those who live and work near them. There is no such thing as a safe tanning chemical.
Another concern with leather furniture is that it can cause contact dermatitis. This is because of the dyes used to colour the leather and also because of chemicals added as preservatives – especially chrome, which coats the surface of the leather so that it doesn’t stain too easily.
This can lead to rashes, irritation, and other allergic reactions. Another allergen in leather is nickel – which comes from metal furniture fittings or trimmings…
Why Does Leather Give Me A Rash?
Well, there are three main reasons why you could get an allergic reaction:
The chemicals used in the tanning process to make sure that the colour and finish lasts longer on the surface of the leather to protect it against stains and spillages.
These include dyes and finishes, which can cause an allergic reaction. The chemicals used in the tanning process to help tanning take place – these are known as reagents or carriers. They bring the other components together
– react them so that they form the leather. Chrome is another chemical used for this purpose.
However, it’s also a major allergen, which is why it is not used in most countries now.
The main reason for many people developing dermatitis due to leather seating surfaces is the fact that they are made from animal hides – and this means that there are probably residues of the chemicals used to treat the hide before it was tanned – these can cause an allergic reaction.
Allergic Reaction Process:
Type 1 – IgE mediated allergic reaction which is very quick and takes between 30-60 minutes to take effect. This type of reaction happens when mast cells degranulate and release their chemical contents. These include histamine and serotonin, both of which cause blood vessels to dilate and cause inflammation, which leads to itching, redness, swelling, etc.
Type 2 – Cytotoxic allergic reaction which is fast-acting. Again, B-cells produce antibodies called IgE which cause an inflammatory reaction if the person is exposed to the allergen again. However, this time, there are other white blood cells called eosinophils that break out of the bone marrow and into the bloodstream. The increase in these cells causes a worsening of symptoms…
Type 3 – Cytotoxic allergic reaction, which is also slow and takes about 48 hours to develop. This involves B-lymphocytes or B-cells producing antibodies called IgE. This means that the person is now sensitized to the allergen and can react badly if exposed to it again – even in very small amounts. This, therefore, leads to inflammation on many different levels…
Type 4 – a cell-mediated allergic reaction that is very slow and takes about 72 hours to develop; causes the body’s immune system to react towards the allergen. This leads to the release of chemical substances such as histamine…this results in inflammation, redness, and swelling. A Type 4 reaction takes place when the person is exposed to the allergen again…and so it can build up over time to cause problems.
Do Dustmites Live On Leather Furniture?
A common myth is that dust mites live in leather sofas or chairs. This isn’t true, as they require warmth and moisture to live – this usually comes from the body heat of the person sitting on an item of furniture.
How Do You Treat Couch Dermatitis?
The treatment for this will depend on the type of dermatitis that you have – and whether it is a contact, delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction, or a cell-mediated allergic reaction. It may be a combination of all three types.
In many cases, people who suffer from an allergy to the chemicals used in the tanning process will only need to replace their leather sofa or chair for something made from materials that are safe – such as wood, bamboo, or cotton.
If you believe that the problem may be due to dust mites, then this would require some deep cleaning of your couch and especially all of the cracks between cushions – these are where they live. You will then need to be sure that you vacuum the couch regularly, as dust mites can also cause an allergy to develop in some people – this is because of their waste products, which are allergenic.
If the problem is more of a Type IV or cell-mediated allergic reaction, this means that you will need to consult your doctor for some antihistamines.
These can be very effective in controlling an allergic reaction, but you should take good care not to scratch the skin while it is irritated – this could lead to secondary infections that are much more difficult to overcome.
If the problem is Type 3 or a delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction, then this would involve taking an antihistamine as well as a cream (from your doctor) to help with the itching and discomfort.
So, if you have been suffering from red and itchy skin that is slowly getting worse then maybe your leather couch or chair may be the culprit. Try replacing it – there’s nothing like sitting on comfy cushions that don’t leave you feeling itchy!
Leather sofas don’t give you a rash; however, there are chemicals in leather that may cause certain people to develop an allergic reaction. Dust mites live on dust and not leather furniture. Treating couch dermatitis depends on the type of allergy and if it is contact/delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction or cell-mediated. Treating all three types require antihistamines and cream from your doctor.