ZocdocAnswersCan a person be allergic to their own hair?

Question

Can a person be allergic to their own hair?

I'm a man with shoulder-length hair, and it seems to really irritate the skin where it falls on my neck and temples. I'm in my 30s, so I really don't think this is acne. Is it possible that I'm having an allergic reaction to my own hair?

Answer

Any condition involving the skin should be evaluated by your primary care physician and he or she may request that you see a dermatologist for further evaluation. Irritated skin can have multiple causes but most are treatable. A straight answer to your question is no, you can't be allergic to your own hair. Allergies are caused by your body's immune system reacting inappropriately to a foreign molecule. Allergies are therefore usually to dust, pollen, drugs, food, plants (such as poison ivy) etc. Since your hair is not a foreign molecule to you body, your body should not have an allergy to it. However, you certainly CAN be allergic to whatever soap, shampoo, conditioner, or any other chemical you put in your hair when you shower. So if you have recently changed shampoos, and that is when your skin began to get irritated, then that may be a possible cause. Your doctor may decide to have you change hair products or soap first. If that doesn't work their are a variety of creams that can be used to sooth irritated skin. After that, a referral to a dermatologist may be warranted. Good luck.

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