Allergic Skin Reactions & Rashes – The importance of Skin Care
The skin is the biggest and one of the most important organs of our bodies. That being so, it is important to take good care of it and make sure you understand any skin allergic reaction you may have and know how to prevent these from happening.
Since allergic skin reactions and rashes are very common it is crucial for you to understand its possible causes, symptoms, and ways of treatment.
After reading this blog you will have a deeper understanding of this and know how to properly take care of your skin.
What is a skin allergic reaction?
A skin allergic reaction happens when your immune system reacts to something that is usually harmless but causes your skin to become irritated. It can manifest in the form of a rash, itching, burning, redness, bumps, hives, and swelling.
Some of the most common allergic skin conditions are:
- Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is the most common allergic skin condition. It is linked to genetic and environmental factors. What happens with this skin condition is that the skin becomes easily irritated, itchy, and dry. Things like certain foods, stress, soaps, lotions, or cold and dry air can trigger the condition.
- Allergic contact dermatitis is a reaction caused by something touching the skin. If you are allergic to something, you will have a skin reaction when touching it.
- Urticaria or hives are bumps on the skin caused by an allergic reaction. You can get it after eating something you’re allergic to. Urticaria can be caused by other things other than allergies, such as a bug bite.
- Angioedema is swelling deep in the skin. It often happens at the same time as urticaria, and in places like the eyelids, lips, and throat.
Causes and Symptoms
Skin allergies are caused by a strong reaction of the immune system to an allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction). Their causes depend on the skin conditions people may have, and the allergen.
The symptoms of skin allergies also depend on the type of reaction:
- Eczema will cause an itchy, scaly, red, dry rash on your face, hands, elbows, and knees. It can also weep clear fluid.
- Allergic contact dermatitis causes an itchy rash with raised bumps and blisters. This reaction can be painful. It can happen right away or up to 48 hours after your skin is exposed to the cause of the reaction.
- Urticaria consists of raised, flat, itchy bumps.
- Angioedema is a type of swelling common in eyelids, lips, and throat. It can become an emergency if it manifests in the throat because it will make it more difficult to breathe, so you should make sure you seek medical help if it happens.
When should you see a doctor?
Urticaria and angioedema can be signs of a serious allergic reaction. If you have hives all over your body and/or start having trouble breathing, you should call 911 and seek emergency care.
You should also see a doctor if:
- you need help controlling your eczema symptoms.
- you have a bleeding or an infected rash.
- you have a new allergy that you find strange.
- you have a skin rash that doesn’t get better after 2 to 3 weeks.
Diagnosis and Tests
To diagnose a skin allergy condition, your doctor may ask questions about your skin, symptoms you may have, and when they occur. He will also examine your skin, look into your eyes, nose, throat, and chest to check for signs of an allergy. To confirm his suspicions of an allergy reaction occurring, he will recommend allergy testing, such as:
- Skin prick test. It is done by exposing your skin to something you might be allergic to, according to your doctor’s suspicions. If your body reacts within 15 minutes, it may suggest an allergy. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you do, because you may not have an allergy even if your skin reacted. The skin prick test is just one piece of information.
- Intradermal skin test. If the skin prick doesn’t cause a reaction and yet your doctor still suspects you have an allergy, he will most likely do this test. This time, he will inject some of the allergens into your skin and check if there is a reaction.
- Blood tests. The lab will put the suspected allergen into a sample of your blood, and check for IgE, which your body makes to attack the allergens. However, this test can often result in a “false positive”, so it is not always reliable.
- Challenge test. It’s common to check for allergic reactions to food or medicine. Your doctor will ask you to inhale or eat a small amount of the suspected allergen and see how you react. He will be there to observe and help you in case of a dangerous reaction.
Treatment and Prevention
The treatments for skin allergies vary depending on the problem and the allergen, but you should avoid the allergen, and use medicines, creams, and other strategies that can relieve the itching, swelling, or pain.
In case of eczema avoid scratching or scrubbing the skin, moisturize it several times a day, avoid putting wool or lanolin on the skin, use gentle soaps, and make sure you take short baths of not too hot water.
In the case of hives, keep the skin cool and avoid tight clothes. In the future, avoid contact with the allergen.
If you come across an allergen that caused allergic contact dermatitis, scrub the skin with soap and water right after.
Most importantly, avoid scratching in any case. You don’t want it to create more irritation or infection. Frequent baths and adequate moisturization afterward will ease your discomfort.
To prevent allergic skin reactions you should always try to avoid the allergens that cause it when you are aware of them. Consider potential allergens that go directly on the skin, such as soap, shower gels, hair products, and makeup; and consider food and medicines that can cause allergic reactions like hives and swelling.
Common Skin Rashes
A skin rash is a change in your skin’s color, appearance, or texture; and it is often itchy, painful, and inflamed. Rashes can happen for various reasons. They can be caused by exposure to plants such as poison ivy and sumac, or even from infections, immune system problems, and even allergic reactions to medication, food, or beauty products. Rashes can occur in one area or all over the body.
Allergic contact dermatitis and eczema which were mentioned before are two common causes of skin rashes. Other causes can be:
- Drug allergy. A skin rash is one common side effect of a lot of prescription medication and it can be accompanied by headaches, fever, and feeling generally unwell.
- Psoriasis. It is a chronic immune disorder that can start at any age and be lifelong. It usually manifests in red plaques with well-defined edges and silvery-white scales, ranging from a few millimeters to several centimeters across. This overactive inflammation can also damage the joints. It makes the skin feel itchy or sore and can appear on highly visible parts of the body, causing severe psychological effects in some cases.
- Tinea, or ringworm, is caused by a fungal infection. It can manifest in many parts of the body and be spread from one part to another, by scratching or using a contaminated towel.
- Shingles. It is a painful rash caused by the reactivation of the chicken pox virus usually years or decades after the original infection. This happens when the virus stays dormant in nerves near the spine and migrates to the skin when it is reactivated, by possibly radiotherapy, spinal surgery, other infections, or cancers. Its pain is some kind of burning or stabbing and it’s followed by a rash of raised red bumps that become blisters and later crust over.
There are several natural ways to treat skin rashes including; applying olive oil, oatmeal, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, chamomile, neem, calendula, and coriander. You can also use quality essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and frankincense all of which may reduce the symptoms of rashes and skin inflammation.
The importance of the skin
Having healthy skin is important for more than just your appearance, it is essential to your general health.
Our skin is the largest and one of the most complicated organs in the body. It provides an airtight, watertight, and flexible barrier between the outside world and the highly regulated systems within the body. It plays a part in temperature regulation, immune defense, vitamin production, and sensation.
There is a major focus on skin health to have glowing, clear, and fresh skin and this has a big influence on self-esteem and mental health.
Given its importance, we must take good care of it and prevent any skin problems.
Skin care as part of a healthy lifestyle
Skin care is part of a healthy lifestyle and it can be combined with oral care and hair care routine. Having these incorporated into your lifestyle will turn you into a happier, healthier person.
It is also important for the prevention of skin problems, which is always better than fixing a problem. Bad skincare choices will impact your life, just like making smart skincare choices will help you age beautifully and healthily.
Before you start making skincare choices, don’t forget everyone’s skin is different. It is important to know your skin type and set a skincare routine from that.
What does good skin care look like?
Having good and adequate skin care according to your skin type is very important to keep it healthy and glowing. It will help you delay natural aging and prevent various skin problems.
Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the best things you can do to take care of it, given the fact that long sun exposure may cause wrinkles, age spots, skin problems, and an increase in the risk of skin cancer. To protect your skin from the sun, use sunscreen, and make sure you apply it generously during high temperatures. You should also avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which is the time when the sun’s rays are the strongest, and wear protective clothing.
Smoking makes your skin look older and paler and causes wrinkles, and it keeps oxygen and nutrients from your skin, which are important to skin health. It also decreases skin strength and elasticity and increases the risk of squamous cell skin cancer. If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your skin health is to quit.
Make sure you treat your skin gently by limiting your shower time and go for cold or warm water instead of hot water. Avoid strong soaps that can strip oil from your skin and choose mild cleansers instead. Shave carefully, by using a clean, sharp razor and in the direction that the hair grows, and moisturize dry skin with a moisturizer that fits your skin type.
Follow a healthy diet. Research shows that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and fish oil, and low in unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates might promote younger-looking skin. Make sure you also drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.
Manage your stress levels. Stress makes your skin more sensitive and triggers acne breakouts and other skin problems. To keep healthy skin, get enough sleep, set reasonable limits, and make time for things you enjoy.
The bottom line
There are plenty of possible skin allergic reactions and rashes, and its symptoms and causes vary depending on the individual and environment. Having a deeper understanding of this will help you prevent yourself from them and know what to do in case you have it.
Be aware that the best way to prevent any skin problem is to have healthy skin which is achieved by making healthy consistent skin care choices. Follow our tips to have the healthiest and most beautiful skin you can have!
Leave a comment