ALLERGIC
SKIN

Allergic skin is highly reactive to elements in our environment called allergens. Allergens can be found just about anywhere: Pollen in the air, food allergies, medicines, cleaning products, certain cosmetic ingredients… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

YOUR QUESTIONS
OUR ANSWERS

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What can I do about an allergic reaction rash?

The most important thing when managing an allergic reaction on the skin is to stop using products which may have caused or could exacerbate the allergy. Allergic reactions on the skin may require medical treatment to clear and prevent recurrence. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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What can I do about skin rashes that itch?

It's important to determine the cause of the itch and ensure that appropriate medical treatment is initiated if required. Otherwise, skincare products especially formulated for sensitive or allergic skin should be used to calm inflammation and protect the skin barrier. Antihistamines may be effective to help reduce itch. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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What does it mean if I have itchy skin with no rash?

Itch without rash can be caused by overheating or irritation but may also be caused by an underlying skin disorder or even systemic medical problems. In cases of sensitive skin and in those prone to eczema or allergy, you should avoid overheating and skin irritation such as prickly clothing or excessive hand washing. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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What causes rashes?

There are hundreds of different causes of rashes including infections, dermatitis, genetic skin conditions, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Rashes may also rarely represent underlying medical conditions. It is important to seek medical help for the right treatment options if basic measures have not been successful. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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What does hypoallergenic mean?

Hypoallergenic is a term used describe any product which has been manufactured specifically to reduce the risk of allergies. Hypoallergenic skincare has been formulated to avoid using ingredients which are known to cause skin allergy. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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How can I treat an allergic reaction on my skin?

The most important thing when managing an allergic reaction on the skin is to stop using products which may have caused or could exacerbate the allergy. Many allergic skin reactions require medical treatment such as anti-inflammatory creams or tablets if they persist despite eliminating the cause. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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How long does an allergic skin reaction last?

The duration of an allergic skin reaction depends on the severity and cause of the reaction. Once the cause of allergy has been eliminated then the reaction may resolve spontaneously but in some cases medical treatment is required due to the self-perpetuating nature of inflammation in the skin. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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What does an allergic reaction look like on the skin?

Allergic skin rashes can be difficult to differentiate from other causes of eczema and dermatitis. Allergic reactions are typically itchy and continue to worsen if cause of the reaction has not been removed. If in doubt it is best to see your medical practitioner to confirm the diagnosis and instigate appropriate treatment. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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Can you be allergic to your own skin?

Certain auto-immune disorders are associated with the immune system reacting to parts of your own body, including the skin in some cases, which in essence is like an allergy to your own skin. These conditions are fortunately however quite rare. Dr Cara McDonald, Dermatologist – Complete Skin Specialists

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ALL ABOUT
SKIN ALLERGIES

Allergies can affect different parts of the body, but we’ll be focusing on skin allergies here. The “classic” type of skin allergic reaction is called contact dermatitis. In this case, the allergen comes into direct contact with the skin (e.g. a pair of nickel earrings), crosses through skin’s protective barrier and triggers an immune response resulting in the allergic reaction. Typical symptoms of contact dermatitis? Red rash, itching, burning, scaling and even oozing. An allergic skin reaction may take weeks to fade. But don’t panic, some hypoallergenic skincare from the pharmacy are designed for allergy-prone skins.

HOW ALLERGIES
IMPACT THE SKIN

Skin allergic reactions are not limited to contact dermatitis. In fact, skin is the #1 site of allergy manifestations, with 80% of allergies having consequences for skin*. This is because - contact dermatitis aside - skin allergies can also be caused by the medicine we take, the food we eat (think nuts) or our environment (think pollen or pet “dander”). Typical on-skin effects on allergies? Skin often breaks out in hives, rashes and irritations, associated with itching, stinging or heating and burning sensations. Plus, if you are constantly blowing your nose, it is likely to become red and irritated.
*Allergic or intolerant skin profiling. France and Germany. A+A. February 2009

DEAR
READERS

The information displayed here is intended for general educational purposes only and should not in any case be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any medical question.