Woman’s rare allergy to pressure on her skin means she can’t wear jeans or a bra

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·4 min read
Stephanie Harvey is unable to wear jeans or a bra due to an allergy to pressure on her skin. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)
Stephanie Harvey is unable to wear jeans or a bra due to an allergy to pressure on her skin. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)

A woman is unable to wear jeans or a bra without breaking out in hives because of a rare allergy to pressure on her skin.

Stephanie Harvey, 34, a carer from Angus, Scotland, would regularly come up in an itchy red rash, seemingly randomly, and assumed she may have an allergy to latex.

In fact, however, the mum-of-two has a condition called pressure urticaria - an allergy to pressure on her skin.

The condition means she has an allergic reaction to basic things, including wearing jeans, socks or a bra and even showering causes her skin to react.

Harvey's lowest point came when she had allergic reaction to her own wedding dress, with her wedding ring also causing her to come out in blisters.

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Harvey's wedding ring causes her to come out in blisters. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)
Harvey's wedding ring causes her to come out in blisters. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)

"I've always had issues with my skin and was back and forwards to the GP about it as a kid," she says.

"I thought I had a latex allergy - so I was shocked when they suggested what it could be.

"I had never even heard of it."

While it was a relief to know what was wrong Harvey says living with the condition day to day is "horrible".

"Sometimes it's itchy, like there are bugs crawling all over my skin, other times it's an awful burning pain that doesn't go away.

"It's the simple things people take for granted that I can't do - like wearing a hairband on your wrist."

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A hematoma Harvey suffered when she was knocked in to. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)
A hematoma Harvey suffered when she was knocked in to. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)

Harvey first started noticing her skin worsening in 2020 when she appeared to suffer a reaction to seemingly every day things.

At first she put it down to sensitive skin and prickly heat, but then she started suffering from irritated, raised bumps which she describes as feeling like she was "on fire".

She grew more desperate for answers following her wedding to husband Jamie Harvey, 33, in the summer of 2020 when she had an allergic reaction to her dress and wedding ring.

"My wedding night was horrendous," she explains. "I was covered in hives.

"I was left with blisters where I had my wedding band on too."

Harvey went to a dermatologist the following year and was eventually diagnosed with pressure urticaria.

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Living with the condition means everyday tasks, such as carrying her shopping bags from the car, can leave her in agony.

Bumping into things can also cause Harvey's skin to react.

Once she caught her leg on the corner of a chair and was left with a painful hematoma the size of a grapefruit.

"Showering was a task I didn't expect to struggle with but the pressure of the water hitting my skin leaves me with red blotches," she says.

"I can't wear whatever I want any more - I used to live in jeans but now I can't, underwired bras are off limits and gym clothes are so tight that it feels like bugs are crawling on me.

"It's tiring having to think about what I can and can't wear or do it all the time."

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Harvey pictured with her husband, Jamie Harvey, on their wedding day. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)
Harvey pictured with her husband, Jamie Harvey, on their wedding day. (Stephanie Harvey/SWNS)

Harvey has now been prescribed with super-strength antihistamines she has to take daily, as well as extra treatments to help deal with flare-ups.

And while her condition is well managed, it's something she'll have to live with for the rest of her life.

The carer is keen to share her story to help raise awareness of the condition.

"I had no idea what it was when I was diagnosed," she explains.

"I have to live with this so the best thing I can do is make other people aware of it so they notice the symptoms and get treatment sooner.

"As soon as I knew, I was able to search it online and get some more information about it to help me understand.

"You never think you'll get any conditions like this, until it happens to you."

Additional reporting SWNS.