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How to identify and treat a skin allergy

A skin allergy is an inflammatory reaction that can manifest itself in different regions of the skin such as the hands, feet, face, arms, armpits, neck, legs, back or belly, causing symptoms such as redness, itching, and white or red skin. In addition, in some cases a skin allergy can lead to other problems such as allergic swelling, for example.

Skin allergies can have different causes such as allergy to deodorant, medication, food, sun, insect bites or even to sunscreen, and its treatment can be done with the use of antihistaminic drugs such as desloratadine or ebastine, for example, indicated by a dermatologist or an allergist.

How to identify and treat a skin allergy

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of a skin allergy include:

  • Itching;
  • Redness;
  • Desquamation;
  • Irritation;
  • Presence of spots or pimples (red or white polka dots).

These symptoms may appear a few minutes after contact with an allergen, but may also take several hours and even days to develop completely. That way you should try to remember the objects or substances that have come in contact with the region in the last 3 days, or the medication or foods you ate, to try to find a cause.

In more severe and less common cases, skin allergies can also lead to the appearance of severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing and throat discomfort, so in these cases it is very important to go quickly to the emergency room or call the SAMU.

How to identify and treat a skin allergy

What to do when symptoms develop

As soon as the first symptoms of allergy arise, it is important that you take action quickly by washing the region where the allergy symptoms are emerging abundantly with water and neutral pH soap. After thoroughly rinsing these areas, it is important to pass on hypoallergenic products with calming agents, such as creams or lotions, like chamomile or lavender, to relieve discomfort and soothe skin irritation, while also helping to maintain hydration.

In addition, thermal water is also an excellent option to use in these situations, as it moisturizes the skin and reduces itching and irritation. 

However, if after washing and moisturizing the skin, the symptoms do not completely disappear after approximately 2 hours or if they worsen within that time and become luxuriant or uncomfortable, it is recommended that you consult a doctor so that you can prescribe medicines for the treatment of allergy.

What can cause an allergy

A skin allergy can have several causes, including:

  • Insect bites;
  • Sweat;
  • Jewelry;
  • Food poisoning;
  • Medication or food;
  • Plants or animal hair;
  • Clothes, belts or some types of fabric such as wool or jeans;
  • Irritant substances or materials such as detergent, laundry soap, cosmetics and beauty products, makeup, shampoo, deodorant, shower gel, soap, wax or even depilatory cream.

A skin allergy can manifest itself causing various symptoms, being very important in identifying the cause of the allergy so that it can be avoided

Skin allergy treatment

The recommended treatment for a skin allergy should be indicated by a dermatologist or allergist and the type of treatment will depend on the cause and intensity of the symptoms. Generally, treatment is done with antihistamines such as desloratadine or ebastine, for example, or with corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone or mometasone, in the form of creams, ointments, syrups or pills, which help to alleviate and treat the symptoms of the allergy.

In addition, in cases where the itching is very intense, the doctor may also recommend the use of an allergy ointment, which will moisturize the skin and relieve itching and redness.

How to know if you have a skin allergy

An allergist or dermatologist can diagnosis a skin allergy, according to the causes by evaluating the symptoms manifested. In some cases the diagnosis can be confirmed through allergy tests, done through stings to the arm and the response can take 15-20 minutes, or through another test consisting in applying (usually on the back) different substances known to cause allergies in the skin, letting them act between 48 to 72 hours, or through a blood test.

How to identify and treat a skin allergy

After the indicated time, the doctor will then observe whether the test was positive or negative, noting if there was redness, itching or if there were blisters on the skin, thus also identifying the agent responsible for causing the allergy. Blood tests may also indicate a cause for the allergy.

Is a skin allergy more common in pregnancy?

Skin allergy in pregnancy can happen due to the hormonal and immune system changes that occur naturally during this period, which can make  pregnant woman more sensitive to the appearance of an allergy to unwanted skin.

In these cases, it is recommended that you try to soothe the skin with creams or lotions that help relieve discomfort and skin irritation, and it is recommended that you see your dermatologist or allergist as soon as possible.

Generally, skin allergies in pregnancy do not harm the baby, but if allergy symptoms are severe it is recommended you go to the emergency room or hospital.

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