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The term “skin allergies” is used to describe reactions which occur in skin which is sensitive to allergens. There are several different kinds of skin allergies, and people can experience the onset of allergies at any age. People with other types of allergies are at increased risk for developing skin allergies, as are people with autoimmune conditions and asthma.
In someone with skin allergies, the affected skin turns dry, rough, and scaly. It may swell into hives, develop a reddish color, or even crack and ooze as a result of irritation. Until the allergen is removed, the skin will get progressively worse, and the patient will usually experience profound discomfort as the skin can be itchy and painful. Skin allergies can show up anywhere on the body, and they are especially common on the face and arms.
Some people have skin allergies in the form of atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis can be caused by exposure to environmental allergens like pet dander along with ingested allergens. It can sometimes be hard to trace the cause of this skin allergy, because the outbreak may occur several hours after exposure. Chronic atopic dermatitis can be a problem for many patients with skin allergies, especially when the allergies are caused by environmental factors, like dust mites or pollen. Recurring bouts of dermatitis can also be a clue that someone is allergic to something, and they should be taken seriously if the patient has no known allergies.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a specific type of skin allergy which occurs when someone comes into direct contact with an allergen. For example, someone who is allergic to eggs might experience contact dermatitis after handling eggs while baking a cake. Babies are also prone to developing contact dermatitis around their mouths when they are introduced to new foods. Allergic contact dermatitis is different from irritant contact dermatitis, a skin reaction which occurs when the skin is exposed to an irritant like bleach.
There are a number of techniques which can be used to manage skin allergies. Avoiding the allergen should be done, if possible, and patients can also be given antihistamines to reduce the severity of the allergic reaction. Some patients may pursue allergy shots to reduce their sensitivity, and the outbreaks themselves can be managed with topical creams which soothe the itching and help to resolve the allergic response. People who experience chronic dry, scaly skin as a result of allergies may want to consider using strong moisturizers, which will make their skin feel softer and reduce itching.