What is a Skin Allergy?

When most people think of allergies, they likely think of sneezing, congestion and asthma symptoms. But the fact is that many people also suffer from allergies that affect their skin, causing rashes, hives and patches of irritation and extreme dryness throughout their bodies.

These symptoms can be caused by a number of allergens. They can be anything from the food you eat to the chemicals and substances you come into contact with. For some severely allergic folks, touching common items such as plants, jewelry, coins, mascara and even bathroom cabinet handles can set their bodies into overdrive.

A Three-Pronged Treatment Strategy

If you suffer from skin allergies, you may be so busy scratching that you haven’t had time to figure out a plan of action on how best to manage your condition. Some medical experts recommend taking a three-pronged approach.

  1. The first thing is to understand what you are experiencing. Try keeping a journal of your symptoms. Track when they occur, what you are doing, and how they present themselves. This information can be helpful to share with your doctor to provide him or her with a clearer picture of your condition.

  2. Put the clues together to make key connections that will help you determine what is actually triggering your symptoms. This is essential, since once you can identify the cause, you can try avoiding it at all costs and see if this makes a significant difference. Expect this to take some trial and error to get to the bottom of your allergies, but remember that it will be well worth the effort.

  3. Treat your skin right since it will be with you for life.Using moisturizers can help prevent it from getting so dry, treatments like calamine lotion can reduce discomfort and itching, and corticosteroid creams can help to keep swelling and inflammation away. For severe itching, add baking soda to the water, since this can help minimize itching. The experts also recommend steering clear of hot water, which can be hard on your skin, but say don’t be afraid to try lukewarm baths. If you add bath oil, it will help you to absorb some of the water’s moisture. In addition, instead of rubbing your skin with a towel, try gentle patting it dry. Finally, keep your nails closely clipped to avoid scratching yourself.

Avoid Triggers

In addition to steering clear of any identified allergens, you may find yourself needing to take extra good care of your skin. Once it is highly sensitive, it may react to a variety of items that have drying or irritating properties even if you aren’t really “allergic” to them. To prevent this as much as possible, some doctors recommend minimizing participation in sports that could cause you to perspire (since sweat can be a common irritant). Some soaps can also dry out your skin. In addition, certain clothing fabrics can be irritating and/or prevent your skin from being able to breathe properly.

Inside and Out

While many skin allergies are commonly caused by environmental factors, sensitivities to foods can also sometimes be the triggers. When your reaction is to something you ate, you will usually get hives or eczema (a type of skin rash comprised of scattered red, raised patches).