Summertime spells skin allergies

Mobile application from Preventice helps people avoid chemicals and fragrances that trigger allergic skin reactions
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A day at the beach or a walk in the woods can spell trouble if you have skin allergies, or contact dermatitis. According to a National Ambulatory Medical Care survey, approximately 8.4 million people visit their doctor each year because of skin allergies. And for many, allergic reactions increase during the summer months.

"Warmer weather drives people to wear clothing that leaves more of their skin exposed to the elements, including the sun, plants and bugs," said James Yiannias, MD, Mayo Clinic, Arizona. "As a result, people use more products like sunscreen, bug spray and lotion, which can trigger skin allergies that send them to the doctor's office. In fact, more than 85 percent of common sunscreen products contain fragrances or preservatives that are known skin irritants."

Avoid skin allergies with CARD

Summertime can be perplexing if you have sensitive skin because you don't always know which chemicals—and which products—can trigger a break out. Thankfully, there's a mobile app that helps people manage their skin allergies and avoid products that can cause reactions.

Called CARD, the application was created in collaboration by Mayo Clinic and Preventice. CARD gives doctors and patients instant access to the world's largest database of chemicals, preservatives and fragrances known to trigger allergic reactions, so they can buy and use safe products.

"Whether you've been patch-tested by a dermatologist or if you're simply concerned about what you use on your skin, CARD puts the world's largest database of safe skin care products at your fingertips," said Drew Palin, MD, chief medical officer for Preventice. "You can use CARD in partnership with your physician as part of a care management plan, or as a smart shopping guide to help you avoid common chemical culprits."

CARD allows consumers to:

Create safe-shopping lists based on any known skin allergies,

Search for safe products based on category, product name or manufacturer,

Receive notifications of product formulation changes,

Print shopping lists,

Share photos of skin reactions with physicians to improve diagnosis and treatment, and

Create personal journals of reactions.

CARD is available for free in the iTunes store. To learn more, visit AllergyFreeSkin.com.