Skin Allergies Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments in Dallas, Texas

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What are skin allergies?

A skin allergy is a reaction that the body has when it comes in contact with a foreign, and usually harmless substance, also known as an allergen. Skin allergies can occur on any area of the body, including the face, arms, and legs, with symptoms ranging in severity, from mild to moderate to severe. There are different types of skin allergies, including eczema, rashes, contact dermatitis, hives, and angioedema. A skin allergy can be caused by different types of allergens, including hair dyes, creams, soaps, and more. In most cases, the skin must make contact with the allergen more than once in order for an allergic reaction to occur, and symptoms can take anywhere from a couple of hours to ten days to appear.

What causes skin allergies?

A skin allergy occurs when the skin makes contact with a harmless foreign substance and mistakenly believes it is under attack. The immune system then deploys antibodies and chemicals to help fight the “invader.” This sequence of events causes the affected areas of skin to break out in an allergic reaction, often causing the skin to become red, itchy, and swollen.

Common allergens that may cause a skin allergy include:

  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Latex
  • Hair dyes
  • Nickel-containing jewelry and accessories
  • Poison ivy
  • Certain foods
  • Sunlight
  • Exposure to hot or cold temperatures
  • Certain medications
  • Insects
  • Certain soaps, lotions, perfumes, or other fragrance-based products
  • Certain makeup products
  • Water

What are the symptoms of a skin allergy?

Depending on the strength of the allergen, the sensitivity of your immune system, and other factors, symptoms may vary. A skin allergy can affect any area of the body, including the face, arms, and legs.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Rash
  • Blisters
  • Redness
  • Burning or stinging of the skin
  • Bumpy or raised skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Cracked skin

How are skin allergies diagnosed?

Skin allergies can be diagnosed by a doctor who will review your medical history and perform a skin allergy test. While reviewing your medical history, your doctor may ask when your symptoms began and if there are any triggers that may have caused the allergic reaction to occur. To perform a skin allergy test, your doctor will either use a patch test, a prick test, or an intradermal test.

A patch test involves your doctor applying controlled levels of various allergens on the skin. You will then visit your doctor within a few days so that your doctor can assess any reactions of the skin. If there is no visible reaction, a prick test may be recommended.

During a prick test, your doctor will gently prick the skin with small traces of various allergens. This is usually done on the back or arms. If an allergic reaction occurs, your doctor can identify what allergen caused the reaction. If the prick test is inconclusive, an intradermal test may be recommended. This test involves your doctor carefully injecting the allergens into deeper layers of the skin. If no reaction occurs, additional tests may be recommended.

How are skin allergies treated?

Once your doctor has determined the cause of your skin allergy, they can offer various treatments and recommendations to help control and alleviate your symptoms. Treatment options for skin allergies may include:

  • Antihistamines or other skin allergy medication
  • Topical creams
  • Allergy immunotherapy injections
  • Clinical trials

If you are experiencing symptoms of skin allergies that are interfering with your quality of life, a consultation with an experienced dermatologist may be the first step towards helping restore the appearance and health of your skin. At Dermatology Treatment and Research Center, our board-certified physicians hold expertise in clinical, cosmetic, and general dermatology and are ready to provide you with high-quality expert care in a friendly and compassionate atmosphere. Call 972.661.2729 or fill out the form on this page to book an appointment.