Skin Allergies – Causes, Treatment & Home Remedies

skin allergies - causes, treatment & home remedies

Skin allergies are caused by a host of factors. From immune system disorders, and medications to infections, the causes vary widely. An allergen triggering some sort of immune system response is called an allergic skin condition. What actually happens is that a foreign substance comes in contact with your skin, and your immune system considers itself under attack. As a response to it, your skin overreacts and sends antibodies for combat, which in this case is an allergen. This causes a red, itchy skin rash where the substance has been in contact with your skin. Skin specialists refer to this condition as contact dermatitis. There are two types of contact dermatitis. One is Irritant contact dermatitis caused by harsh cleaners or other chemicals. The other one is Allergic contact dermatitis, when your body reacts to allergy triggers.

There are people who are allergic to regular things that do not typically bother others. Such individuals are reactive to plants, dyes and fragrances which are present in regular and everyday products. At times, some people also show allergic reactions to certain things that are present in the air and drop on their skin. These could be things like pollen, powders, fibres, chemical sprays, or cigarette smoke. This is called Airborne contact dermatitis. This type of skin allergy occurs on the eyelids, head, and neck. It often becomes difficult for doctors to diagnose Airborne contact dermatitis as it looks very similar to the other types of contact dermatitis.

That said, on some occasions, skin allergies can cause hives and swelling deep inside the skin, called angioedema. While avoiding contact with the allergy trigger is the best solution, in case you cannot do that, you will need to treat the rash and soothe the itching. It is important to note that it’s not contagious, that is, you can’t pass it to others. If your condition is serious, consult a skin specialist or go for skin specialist online consultation.

Causes of skin allergies

In general, it takes 10 to 12 days for the skin to become sensitive to something after the first contact. Interestingly, some people may touch something for years before they get an allergic reaction to them. But conversely, you could also develop reactions within minutes of coming into contact with things that you are allergic to. It might also take a couple of days for the reaction to happen.

The most common causes of skin allergies include:

  • The metal Nickel, largely used in jewellery making as well as for snaps on jeans
  • Makeup, lotions, soaps, and shampoos
  • Sunscreens and pest controls
  • Skin medications e.g. antibiotics or anti-itch creams
  • Perfumes and Fragrances
  • Detergents and other cleaning products
  • Some plants like poison ivy
  • Latex, used in plastic gloves, elastic in clothing, condoms, and balloons
  • Certain chemicals

Also read: When You Should Seek Skin Care Help From A Dermatologist

Ways to treatment of skin allergies

Today a host of treatments are available for all types of skin allergies. You can consult an online skin specialist from the comfort of your home and get treatment for your allergic condition. Any treatment for skin allergies depends on the cause of the specific condition.

Here are some of the common ways to treat skin allergies –

  • If you have dry skin, an effective and good quality moisturiser will just be good for you.
  • For allergic issues like eczema, dermatitis, or hives, corticosteroid creams are very helpful. However, you must use them only after a skin specialist has prescribed them. You can apply the cream directly on the affected area of your skin to assuage itching. Other effective medications for relieving the itch are topical calcineurin inhibitors and oral antihistamines.
  • Additionally oral antihistamines, like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Benadryl, are also common anti-allergy medicines. Your dermatologist will need to prescribe them or you can purchase them online.
  • In case of fungal infections, like Ringworm, athlete’s foot, and other such infection, antifungal treatment is the best option. There are many creams and shampoos available for topical treatments of fungal infections. However, in case the infection gets severe, a dermatologist or online skin specialist might prescribe oral medications like terbinafine, or Lamisil. 
  • For insect bites and stings, dermatologists prescribe topical antihistamines to ease the itch.

Often, skin specialists prescribe alternative treatment courses for those afflicted with psoriasis or kidney failure. This is because there could be side effects to the medication therapy. For such individuals, doctors recommend light therapy or phototherapy. As a part of this treatment, the skin is exposed to a definite wavelength of UV rays to control the itch.

Home remedies for skin allergies

The following home remedies may help reduce skin itching caused from allergies-

  • Apply a deep moisturizing cream on the affected area of your skin at least once or twice a day.
  • Use an anti-itching cream or lotion, for instance, an over the counter hydrocortisone cream, to ease the itching.
  • Go for a cool and wet compress. It often works wonders on skin allergy.
  • Take a lukewarm bath, it helps heal the itching considerably.
  • If you are prone to skin allergies, opt for mild soaps which are made without dyes or perfumes. Also go for soft and unscented detergent for your laundry. A number of products suitable for sensitive skin are now available online, explore and make informed purchases to avoid skin allergies.
  • You should stay away from things that can cause an allergic reaction, including, nickel, jewelry, and wool.
  • Last but not the least, by all means avoid scratching. Scratching aggravates the condition creating further inflammation and damaging the skin. It also worsens the itching.

The home made remedies are for mild allergic conditions. If the remedies or over-the-counter creams do not work, and your rash appears menacingly spreading, or if  you are seeing additional symptoms other than itching, immediately see a dermatologist or skin specialist. You can also opt for skin specialist online consultation to access top quality medical care from home. These are highly trained skin doctors who can identify the underlying cause and treat the problem accordingly. While consulting a dermatologist try to find out what is best for the particular rash you get. The doctors will also be able to prescribe stronger medicines if needed.

Also read: All About Skin Disorders: Here are the 20 most common ones

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