30
October
2013

How to deal with skin allergies

Get rid of annoying skin allergies

Does your skin have allergic reactions to certain items or medications?  Read here to learn about it.

Skin irritation and skin reactions can be caused by a variety of things including heat, immune system disorders, medical conditions, and infections. However, when an allergen is responsible for triggering a response in the immune system and therefore causing an irritation to your skin, this is an allergic reaction.  There are a coupe of primary types of allergic skin reactions including dermatitis (eczema), Urticaria (hives) and angioedema.

Dermatitis happens when your skins comes into contact with some sort of allergen. One example of this would be in your skin comes into contact with jewelry containing nickel, and then you develop red, bumpy, scaly, itchy or swollen skin at the point of contact. This would then mean that you are allergic to nickel. Dermatitis causes red bumps or dark patches of skin that may leak fluid. Eczema is an actual chronic skin condition related to immune system dysfunction within the layers of your skin. This is associated with food allergies, asthma or hay fever. In babies, eczema often appears on the cheeks, forehand or scalp. Another form of dermatitis, allergic dermatitis appears when a person comes into contact with poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. The oily covering of these plants causes a red, itchy rash.

Urticaria (hives) is an inflammation of the skin that is caused by the immune systems release of histamine, which causes the small blood vessels to leak, thereby causing a swelling of the skin. This can also cause raised red or white bumps or welt that can cover large areas and can spread. These bumps can be very itchy, range in size and can appear almost anywhere on the body. There are two types of hives, acute, which happens after eating a particular food that you are allergic to, or coming into contact with a substance that triggers a reaction for you. Chronic hives are those that can leaves for months of years. Hives can be caused by heat or exercise, but also they can be caused by allergic reactions to foods, insect bites or medication.  To be clear, hives are not contagious, but they can spread if continually itched.

Angioedema, which is a swelling in the deep layers of the skin, and which are often mistaken for hives. But this most often occurs in the eyelids, mouths and genital areas. This reaction is acute if it only lasts a short time (minutes, hours or days), and it is commonly a reaction to medication or food. Chronic angioedema is when the condition returns time and time again and you are not sure what the cause is. There is one more rare condition, called Hereditary Angioedema, which is a serious genetic condition where various parts of the body- hands, feet, face, intestinal wall and airways swell up.

Though these skin allergic reactions can be very annoying and itchy, there are ways to manage and treat them. Applying cold compresses, creams or ointments can all help relieve itch for these skin allergies. Keeping your skin moisturized will help to restore the skin barrier. It’s important to avoid using soaps that contain sodium laurel sulfate.  Pay attention to when and where your skin allergies happen to determine “triggers”, and then avoid those triggers. If this is a serious reaction, you can see an allergist you can prescribe medication for you to use. Antihistamines and topical corticosteroid creams can also reduce redness, swelling and itching.  If you have a skin bacterial infection, you should be taking antibiotics. It’s important to seek medical attention for reactions that are serious, or worsening. 

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Categories: Allergies, Health

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