When the immune system in your body detects a foreign body like a bacteria or a virus, it helps to fight it. The same happens when an allergen enters your body and causes a Skin Allergy.
Your immune system has the ability to distinguish between its own cells and the foreign bodies that enter your system.
When this happens, it generates an immune response to fight foreign bodies like a virus, or bacterial infection, fungal infection, and kill them.
Moreover, depending on the substance or an allergen causing a skin allergy, your body might show different responses.
For instance, when you eat peanuts, and you are allergic to them, you might observe inflammation in parts of your body.
Allergens are molecules in the environment that can cause Skin Allergy.
They are present in the form of pollen, food, mold, insect venom, or dust mites.
However, when you come in contact with any one of these molecules and your body reacts to it, then it means you have developed an Allergy.
Hay fever is a kind of allergy and it affects almost 400 million people in the world annually.
Asthma affects about 300 million people, and food allergies affect 200- 250 million people in the world.
Moreover, drug allergies are also present in the people and it affects almost 10% of the world’s population.
Surprisingly, no one is born with allergies, but about 50 million people suffer from them.
Causes of Skin Allergy
Many doctors and researchers are not sure about what exactly triggers your immune system to develop an allergy.
However, certain allergies might be genetic.
For instance, if your father or mother has an allergic reaction to pollen then you might also be allergic to it.
But genetic is one suspectable factor to an allergic reaction.
Certain specific allergies do not pass down from parents to their children.
For instance, if your mother or father suffers from asthma, where there are chances that you might also suffer from it.
Now let us learn types of skin allergies.
Skin Allergy: Types
There are different types of skin allergies and you can develop them in any part of your life.
For instance, you might not be allergic to pollen however, with age you developed an allergic reaction to it.
Moreover, different allergies can cause different symptoms in people, like if some have inflammation due to metal, you might have skin rashes due to it.
You can develop it when either you come in contact with an allergy directly or you inhale the molecules of it.
When your skin comes directly in contact with the molecules of an allergen, then it is Allergic Contact Dermatitis.
This can happen when you touch something you are allergic to, like a detergent or a cleaning solution.
Different types of skin allergy are as follows:
Sore Throat: In this type of allergy, your throat has irritation and inflammation.
Rashes: Areas of your skin can get irritated, red, or swollen. Moreover, they can cause pain and itching.
Hives: You can experience different sizes of raised welts, itchy bumps, red and itchy skin and they can develop on any part of your body.
Itching: You can experience irritation or inflammation in the dry skin.
Eczema: Eczema causes patches of your skin to become inflamed and can often itch or bleed.
Swollen Eyes: Your eyes can be watery or itchy due to dust or an allergic reaction to particles in the atmosphere.
Burning: Inflammation of the skin can lead to discomfort and stinging sensations on your skin.
Learn more about Home Remedies for Sore Throat
Types of Allergens
There are different types of allergens that can potentially cause a skin allergy.
The following are the common types of allergens:
Plants: Pollens from the trees, grass, weeds as well as from the resin plants like poison ivy, poison oak are common plant allergens.
Animal Products: These include pet danders, dust mite waste, and cockroaches.
Mold: Mold produces airborne spores which can trigger an allergic reaction.
Drugs: Certain drugs such as penicillin and sulfa drugs can cause an allergic reaction.
Foods: Food items like walnuts, peanuts, milk, wheat, shellfish, eggs, etc. can causes allergies.
Insect Stings: Insects like bees, wasps, and mosquitoes can cause allergies.
Other Allergens: Latex, a particle found in gloves and metals like nickel can cause allergies.
There are some allergies that come and go with seasons and are seasonal allergies.
For instance, hayfever is a seasonal allergy and is due to pollen present in the atmosphere.
It can cause watery eyes, itching, runny nose, and coughing.
With time. food allergies are becoming more common amongst people of both developing and developed countries.
According to the Food Allergy Research and Education FARE, about 15 million Americans have food allergies.
Moreover, young children are more likely to develop food allergies.
Approximately, 1 out of 13 children has a food allergy.
According to FARE, cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts like cashews, soy, wheat, etc, accounts for 90% of all food allergies.
Diagnosis of Skin Allergy
Every time a pet cat or dog passes by you and you start sneezing or when you break out in hives when a bee stings you is a sign of skin allergy.
However, many times you might not be aware of it.
Thus, by making an appointment with a doctor or immunologist, you can seek help.
They will diagnose allergy in 3 steps:
1# Your doctor will ask you questions to understand the signs and symptoms and their possible causes.
They will also ask you about your medical history and about your daily routine.
2# If your doctor suspects a skin allergy, they will perform a physical examination during which they will examine your nose, eyes, throat, and skin.
Moreover, this exam can also include a lung function test to detect how well your lungs are working.
3# They will do allergy tests like a patch test, skin test, or flood test as no one test can help to determine the cause of your allergy.
Types of Tests Doctors use to Diagnose Allergens
Depending on the signs and symptoms, causes, and other factors, your doctor can order the following tests.
Moreover, no one test can help diagnose the cause of your allergy, therefore, they can order multiple tests to diagnose it.
- Skin Prock Test, SPT
- Intradermal Skin Test
- Blood tests specifically IgE levels
- Patch tests
Skin Prock Test SPT
This test can help confirm common types of allergies,
In some cases, however, they can be the most accurate and least expensive.
For this test, your doctor will place a small drop of allergen on your skin and then will lightly prick or scratch your skin.
If you are sensitive to the substance, you will develop redness, swelling, or itching at least at the test site within 15 minutes.
It is important to know:
- A positive skin test result does not by itself diagnose an allergy.
- A positive skin test does not predict the severity of an allergic reaction.
- And a negative skin test usually means you are not allergic.
Intradermal Skin Test
during this test, or under the skin testing, the doctor or nurse injects a tiny amount of allergen into the outer layer of skin.
They will check your skin after a set amount of time for results, like with the skin prick test.
Doctors may also use this test if the skin prick test results are negative but they still suspect you have allergies.
Moreover, they may use this test for diagnosing drug or venom allergies. At this time, there are very few indications for intradermal skin testing for food allergy.
Blood Tests (Specific IgE)
If you have a skin condition or are taking medications that interfere with skin testing, allergen blood tests may be used.
They may also be used for children who may not tolerate skin testing. Your doctor will take a blood sample and send it to a laboratory.
The lab adds the allergen to your blood sample and then measures the number of antibodies your blood produces to attack the allergens.
This test is called Specific IgE, IgE Blood Testing (previously and commonly referred to as RAST or ImmunoCAP testing).
Moreover, it is not a good screening test due to the high rates of false-positive results. There is no test that can determine how severe an allergy is for someone.
If you have contact dermatitis, then his test determines what allergen may be causing it.
Your doctor will place a small amount of a possible allergen on your skin, cover it with a bandage and check your reaction after 48 to 96 hours.
If you are allergic to the substance, you should develop a local rash.
Treatment options for Skin Allery include medications, immunotherapy, and epinephrine.
The best option for you is to stay away from triggers of an allergic reaction.
However. if that is not the case, and you are unable to avoid them, there are different treatment options available.
Medicatications: Medications can either be OTC, over-the-counter, or prescription medications.
However, the recommendations of your doctor depending on the severity of the allergies you are experiencing.
Moreover, they can include:
- cromolyn sodium,
- leukotriene modifiers, or
However, if none of these suits you then your doctor can prescribe Singulair.
Other Treatment Options
Other treatment options are:
Immunotherapy: It involves a number of injections over the course of years to help your body get used to the allergies you have.
This helps to stimulate your immune system but not enough to cause a complete allergic reaction.
Over time, your doctor can increase the dosage of allergens, moreover, making your body getting used to the allergens.
Therefore, this helps your immune system to build a tolerance to the allergens
Epinephrine: If you have a severe or life-threatening allergy, you should carry an emergency epinephrine shot.
These severe allergies can be due to pet dander, insect stings, medications, or other food allergies.
Skin Allergy: Home Remedies
You can try some home remedies for skin allergies.
These have been used by many people all around the world and helps to relieve the symptoms of an allergy.
- Baking Soda
- Plants and Herbs
Baking soda is an effective home remedy that can balance the pH of the skin.
It works as an anti-inflammatory product to soothe itching skin.
You can use it in the following ways:
Baking Soda Bath
By mixing 1 cup of baking soda into lukewarm water in a bathtub, you can soak your body in the mixture for 15 minutes.
Afterward, rinse your body gently with a lukewarm shower.
Baking Soda Paste
Mix 4 tbs of baking soda and 12 tbs of distilled or filtered water. Apply the paste on the affected or itch area.
After 10 minutes rinse it with cool water.
You can use coconut oil instead of water
Plants and Herbs
Natural practitioners recommend using a number of plants to treat skin allergies.
Some of these are as follows:
Pemex Japonicus Houtt: According to a study in 2016, this herb is an effective alternative therapy for atopic dermatitis.
Aloe Vera: Topical use of this gel can smooth itching skin in case of atopic dermatitis and other conditions.
Konjac Ceramide: According to a study in 2006, taking konjac ceramide by mouth improves skin conditions and also reduces allergic reactions in children with atopic dermatitis.
Persimmon Leaf Extract: A study in 2002 suggests that oral intake of this leaf extract prevents and has healing qualities in mice.
Some other plants and herbs like basil, chamomile, coriander, English marigold, neem are among other plants that can help reduce the symptoms of skin allergy.
Oatmeal has a number of biological properties and includes antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components.
Moreover, they can help reduce inflammation and soothe itching of allergic skin reactions.
For an oatmeal bath, use a small amount or 1 cup of powdered oatmeal and add it to a bathtub of lukewarm water.
Mix it thoroughly and fully immerse your body into the tub.
After 30 minutes, rinse yourself with a cool and gentle shower.
For this, add 1/4 cup of oatmeal into a mixing bowl and mix it with filtered or distilled water, 1tbs. at a time.
Continue mixing and adding water until smooth paste forms.
Apply the paste on the affected area or gently bandage the area with a moist cloth.
After 30 minutes, remove the cloth and rinse the area with cool water. Later, moisturize the area.
Moreover, you can add 1 tbs of coconut oil, or a few drops of lavender essential oil, or even both for soothing effects
There is no way to prevent symptoms of skin allergy, however, there are different ways you can prevent the symptoms to occur. However, avoiding them is one of the most effective ways to prevent food allergies.
You can eliminate the food items that cause skin allergy, by reading the food label and asking questions while dining out. Moreover, preventing seasonal, contact or other allergies comes down to avoiding triggers or allergens and avoiding them.
It is important to consult your doctor before following or using any medication, natural or otherwise and people who are at risk of anaphylaxis can learn to manage their allergies and what to do in an emergency.