General terms associated with the skin

Allergic reaction

This disorder occours when the body becomes hypersensitive to a particular allergen. When irritated by an allergen, the body produces histamine in the skin as part of the body's defence or immune system. The effects of different allergens are diverse and they affect different tissues and organs. For example, certain cosmetics and chemicals can cause rashes and irritation in the skin. Certain allergens such as pollen, fur, feathers, mould and dust can cause asthma and hay fever. If severe, allergies may be extremely serious and result in anaphylactic shock with symptoms in different parts of the body at the same time, including rashes, swelling of the lips and throat, difficulty breathing and a rapid fall in blood pressure and loss of consciousness.

In the case of a client experiencing a rash or severe redness or burning with the use of a product, the appropriate action is immediately to remove all traces of the product from the skin and apply cool, wet compresses to soothe the skin.

It is advisable for the client to discontinue all use of products, preferably including make-up, until the reaction has stopped and all symptoms of the allergy have gone. Then clients may be encouraged to use products on the skin, one by one, each day adding another product to see if the offending product or ingredient may be identified. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, advise the client to seek medical advice.


This is a collection of sebum, keratinised cells and waste which accumulate in the entrance of a hair follicle. It may be open or closed. An open comedone is a 'blackhead' contained within the follicle, whereas a closed comedone is a whitehead, trapped underneath the skin's surface.

Open comedones (blackheads) and closed comedones (red raised areas)

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