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Anyone can develop an allergy to nearly anything at any time of life. You can suddenly develop an allergy to an ingredient in a toothpaste you have been using for months, or even to a fruit that you have eaten before without any ill effects. Contact dermatitis begins as redness and burning on the lips tongue or palate, and can progress to a rash and small papules (blisters). Many people are familiar with contact dermatitis through their own contact with poison oak or poison ivy. Symptoms around the oral cavity can look and feel like this, except that the blisters generally remain quite small. You may be surprised to learn that mangos(the tropical fruit) are in the same family as poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac.  The peel contains the oil, urushiol, which can elicit a skin rash called “Urushiol-Induced Contact Dermatitis”.  This oil is also found in the shells of cashews and in Ginko Biloba.  The good news is that the rash generally subsides after a few days or weeks.  The bad news is that it can return when you come into contact with your allergen.  The image above is a contact dermatitis of the lips caused by eating mangos without removing the peel.

The dermatitis is treated with antihistamines and, if severe, topical steroids.  This type of irritation is not necessarily confined to the mouth and lips.  The urushiol oil can transfer from the peel to the hands, and from there to other areas of the body, such as the eye and surrounding tissues.

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