Anyone who has encountered a skin allergy would know how irritating it is. There are various factors that contribute to the occurrence of skin allergies. These include immune system disorders, allergic reactions to medication and infections. The symptoms vary as well, the common symptoms include bumps, itching and redness. The most common types of skin allergy include Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), Allergic Contact Dermatitis, Urticaria (Hives), Angioedema and Hereditary Angiodema (HAE), amongst which Eczema and Hives are the most common types.
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Eczema is mostly common in babies and infants, it can also occur in older children and adults but usually improve with age. There are currently no cures for eczema, however, with proper care and management, it can be effectively treated.
What causes eczema is still not fully understood, it is believed that genetic factors play a major role in developing eczema and many other common skin conditions. People that have eczema usually have weakened skin barrier, as a result, the skin’s ability to retain water is weakened and moisture is easily lost which then causing dry skin.
Common symptoms associated with eczema include redness, itching, oozing and eventually lead to rough hard thickened skin. If the symptoms persist and worsen it will develop into eczema flare. However, when it’s efficiently managed, the symptoms should disappear over the space of days or weeks.
Up to 20% of people will develop hives at certain stage of their life. Hives are usually associated with the chemicals in mast cells, which are located underneath the lining of the skin and body organs such as the stomach and lungs. When these chemicals are released into the skin they cause irritation which then trigger redness and swelling in your skin.
The exact causes of hives are still not clear, the commonly seen ones include infection, contact allergy to plants or animals and allergic reactions to food, medicines or insect bits. In some people, physical triggers such as cold or heat, sunlight, rubbing or scratching of the skin can also lead to hives.
Fortunately, most hives resolve within a couple of weeks without any treatment, however, if symptoms are severe, you should always consult a GP.
With any skin conditions, prevention is always better than cure.
The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to protect your skin from known irritants and allergens. For example, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to use only fragrance-free products and possibly wear gloves while in contact with laundry detergent. The truth is, taking good care of your skin on a daily basis can go a long way in preventing many skin conditions from ever forming. Instead of constantly visiting your GP, there are many simple lifestyle changes we can make, such as using natural skin care products and keeping your fingernails short to prevent scratching.