What does a skin allergy look like?
There are several different types of skin allergy reactions that allergists treat.
Eczema (also commonly called atopic dermatitis) typically results in dry, sensitive skin. You may experience red itchy patches. Eczema can come and go over time, and flare-ups may crack, ooze, and itch severely. It is very itchy and can vary in severity from mild (just dry skin ) to severe (red, scaly, thick, fissured and oozing skin)
Hives (also known as urticaria) are raised itchy bumps. Typically hives appear reddish, and will “blanch” (or turn white) in the center when pressed.
Contact dermatitis is typically caused by exposure to an allergen or irritant. If you have red itchy bumps on your skin, especially at the site of contact with some potential irritant or allergen, you may be experiencing contact dermatitis.
Your allergist can conduct an examination and do testing to help determine the cause of your skin reaction, and can recommend treatment to help relieve your symptoms.
How can I relieve the itching from my skin rash?
Avoid scratching! Scratching your rash or hives can create more irritation and can lead to infection. Frequent baths followed immediately with adequate moisturization may help ease your discomfort.
Your allergist may prescribe a cream or oral medication to help alleviate your discomfort. Antihistamines and moisturizing ointments can also help ease irritation and dryness. Recently, new medications such as an ointment has been approved for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis and a biologic for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. You can discuss these options with your allergist.
I haven’t changed anything about my usual routine – what could be causing my skin rash or hives?
There could be many causes for your skin rash. Some types of rash are caused by allergies, others may be caused by infections, skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea, or even just by dry or damaged skin. Your allergist can help diagnose the cause of your symptoms and prescribe treatment to help you get relief.
Should I stay out of the sun until my rash or hives are gone?
If your skin is already irritated or sensitive, exposure to UV rays and possible sunburn could cause you more discomfort. It’s a good idea to cover up if you can, or to minimize your time in direct sunlight.
In addition, some types of skin rash can be caused by the sun. Photoallergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin has a reaction to an irritant or allergen after exposure to the sun. Cosmetics, sunscreen, shaving lotion, and perfume can trigger this kind of reaction.
Consult with your allergist to determine the cause of your skin reaction and the best course of treatment.
Could my skin reaction be caused by a food allergy?
Yes! A reaction to a food allergen can cause you to have a skin reaction like hives.
There are many possible causes for hives and rashes, so consult with your allergist to determine the cause of your symptoms and the best course of treatment.