Skin Allergies Explained
Last Updated: 3rd February 2023 · Written by Donna Mastriani
Irritation of the skin can be caused in many ways. A problem like this can happen as result of disorders of the immune system, infection or medication. When the immune system has been triggered by a particular allergen, this classifies the problem as a skin allergy.
There are several different types of skin allergy. Here are just a few examples:
When skin comes into contact with an allergen and there is a subsequent reaction, it is referred to as ‘contact’ dermatitis. For example, if your body is allergic to white gold and you unknowingly wear jewellery that contains the metal, it will likely result in a swollen, itchy, red or even scaly skin around the area it was worn.
Contact dermatitis can also be caused by plants like poison ivy, wood nettle or poison oak and will result in a similar reaction. There doesn’t have to be much of the offending oil from the plants transferred onto your skin to cause a problem either, as you can get a reaction from something as minor as stroking your dog that has rubbed against some.
Also known by the medical term ‘Urticaria’, hives are a type of inflammation that happens when a person’s immune system detects a foreign object and thus produces histamine. This is usually a method the body uses to protect itself, but it causes its own problems such as swelling, especially when it over-produces the chemical.
Hives occur when this swelling goes deep into the skin’s layers, which can be persistent (or chronic) or acute. Acute urticaria typically happens as a result of a food trigger, whereas the cause of chronic urticaria is much more difficult to diagnose.
Usually affecting the soft tissue areas of the body, angioedema often comes along with hives and with the chronic variety is notoriously difficult to find a cause for. Acute angioedema normally lasts less than a day and is associated with allergic reactions to foods or medications.
Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema
By far the most prevalent skin condition is eczema, particularly with children. A staggering 20% of all children suffer with the condition, whereas in adults, it is as low as 2%. Eczema can also compound other allergies brought on by sensitivity to certain foods, but when severe atopic dermatitis occurs, a large number of those who have the condition, have it for more fundamental, genetic reasons. A ‘faulty’ gene called ‘filaggrin’ causes a weakness in the skin, making it more permeable and prone to infection.
Hereditary Angiodema or HAE
HAE is quite uncommon and a rather more serious acquired condition that affects many parts of the body, including swelling of the face, airways, feet, hands and lower gut. This type of skin condition requires the expert eye of a specialist, as it doesn’t improve with the application of traditional adrenaline or antihistamine treatments.
If you or someone you love has a skin allergy that you just can’t seem to find a cause for, then we would absolutely recommend using one of our scientifically proven allergy blood screen tests that compares a small sample of your blood against an array of possible allergens and really gets to the nub of the problem.
For as little as £75, we can identify the cause of your skin problem, so you can take control and remove the source of the condition. At Lifelabtesting.com, we are accredited by the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutrition Therapy (BANT) and members of the scientific community.
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