Leather Allergy

If you get contact dermatitis after wearing or touching leather, you might have a leather allergy. Patients with this allergy are most likely allergic to dimethyl fumarate (DMF), a chemical used in the leather tanning process. DMF is used for its antifungal properties and has been known to cause many skin reactions. While symptoms of this allergy aren’t usually severe, they can be painful if not treated immediately.

Leather Allergy Symptoms

  • Itchy skin
  • Burning skin
  • Dark or red rash
  • Rough, dry skin
  • Peeling skin

Most symptoms of this allergy are delayed. They occur after prolonged exposure to leather. Because of similar symptoms, this condition often gets mistaken for eczema, a long term skin disorder. This is why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis by a board certified allergist.

Diagnosing A Leather Allergy

Patch testing is recommended for diagnosing a leather allergy. During this test, small amounts of the allergen will be applied to patches that stick to the skin. It generally takes two to four days to deliver an accurate result; however, the times vary depending on the sensitivity of your skin. After taking off the patches, your doctor will ask you to return to the office to check for any delayed reactions.

Leather Allergy Treatment

After receiving a diagnosis, your allergist will determine what treatment plan is best for you. Cortisone creams are available by prescription as well as over the counter. Oral antihistamines can also help with your itchy skin. As always, it’s important to avoid products you are allergic to. In the case of DMF, there are hidden names to be aware of when trying to avoid the allergen. These names include:

  • Fumaric acid
  • Dimethyl ester
  • Allomaleic acid dimethyl ester
  • Dimethyl (E)-butenedioate
  • Methyl fumarate


If you suspect you have a leather allergy, call NY Allergy & Sinus Centers for treatment immediately. Our allergists are available six days a week to diagnose and treat your allergy. We offer relief the same day of your appointment.To make an appointment for your leather allergy or other allergy, sinus, and asthma problems, call us today at (212) 686-4448.

  • NY Allergy & Sinus Centers

    Our premier team of allergists offer state-of-the-art methods for diagnosis and treatment of allergies and sinus conditions. Our NY Allergy & Sinus Centers perform Allergy Skin and Blood Testing, Food Allergy Testing, Patch Testing, and Immunotherapy, and often a same-day diagnosis is possible.

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