Diagnosing the Different Types of Skin Allergies

The skin is in the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and other organism. And it does its work well. But sometimes, allergens get through and cause a skin allergic reaction. Skin allergies are quite unpleasant and irritating. Tell-tale signs you have a suffering from skin allergy are rashes, redness, scaly skin, blisters, itchiness, and swelling.

Skin allergies are normally triggered by the reaction of the body’s immune system to a foreign substance. The most common types are contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and urticaria with angioedema.

Contact dermatitis has two types, allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) caused by allergens and irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) resulting from caustic substances reacting with the skin. Contact dermatitis causes rash. A quality of ACD is that it only occurs on the skin area right where the offending agent comes in contact. ACD is characterized by itching, redness, and blistering of the skin area after touching the plant poison ivy or poison oak of the rhus family. Touching the rash can produce another reaction, except when the rash area has been already washed. ICD is considered to be painful than itchy. The offending agent actually damages the skin.

Atopic dermatitis, commonly called eczema, is a widespread skin allergy. Eczema mostly appears in the face, knees, and elbows. It is also known to occur on the chest, scalp, and feet where a person scratches. There is no cure for it. Eczema is an itchy, red, and scaly rash. It may produce oozing at times. Scratching of the affected areas should be avoided. Excessive scratching results in broken skin. Lubricating and applying cold compress is helpful in easing the effects of eczema.

Urticaria, also called hives, is a skin rash that is itchy, swollen, and red. It appears anywhere in the body. Its size and shape can vary. It is often caused by viral infection, latex, or food and usually disappears spontaneously. It is a result of the chemical histamine in the skin’s upper layers. There are special cases of chronic hives, however. Angioedema is swelling of the skin that sometimes accompanies urticaria. It normally occurs at the eyes, hands, feet, and lips. It causes a burning to stinging sensation. If hives is at the upper layers of the skin, angioedema reaction is found at the bottom layers.

Skin allergies can sometimes persist. Sometimes it is triggered by something else. There are some occurrences where treatment can only be made by taking patch samples and tests of the affected area and the study of a patient’s medical history.

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