What Are The Symptoms Of A Skin Allergy?

Article Read Duration 5 min read

From redness and bumps to burning sensations, most people will experience skin allergy signs at some point in their life. However, with many skin conditions presenting similar symptoms, it can be confusing whether you’re experiencing a skin allergic reaction.


Read on for our guide to understanding skin allergies, covering all the key questions such as how a skin allergy looks and feels, potential causes and how to avoid triggering an allergy. We’ll also share some skincare recommendations for sensitive skin prone to allergy from our Toleriane range. This range consists of minimalist formulas free from known allergens like alcohol, preservatives and fragrance.

What is a skin allergy?

Skin allergies happen when the skin reacts to a substance that is usually harmless but is perceived by the skin as an ‘allergen’. Allergies can occur to any individual who has been exposed to a substance at any time, even if used without a reaction historically. Once the skin has identified a particular substance as an allergen, exposure to the substance should be avoided. Skin allergy symptoms can develop for the first time in adults as well as children.

What are the symptoms of a skin allergy?

How to identify a skin allergy can be quite challenging, since there are other skin conditions that can cause similar symptoms. However, familiarising yourself with the key characteristics of a skin allergy will help you recognise the issue sooner rather than later.

So, what does a skin allergy look like? Visible symptoms range from mild to severe and include redness, bumps, swelling, scaly patches, hives and rashes. Your skin may also have a burning feeling or itching.

What causes skin allergies?

Allergens can be plants, metals, chemicals and more. Skin allergy causes are numerous, but some are much more common than others. For example, nickel is a common skin allergen found in jewellery, zippers and bra hooks. Other common skin allergens include fragrances or preservatives in personal care products or laundry powders and plants like poison ivy.

Skin allergy vs. eczema

If you’re experiencing redness or itchy-prone skin, it can be unclear whether your symptoms are caused by an allergy or eczema. Unlike skin allergies which can sometimes happen as a one-time occurrence, eczema is a chronic skin condition that often starts in childhood. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema presents as a red rash most commonly on areas of the skin that crease such as knees and elbows.

When it comes to identifying an allergic reaction vs eczema, there are a few key factors to consider. If your symptoms persist or recur over time and are accompanied by dry skin, it’s possible you have eczema. As with any persistent skin issue causing you concern, we recommend seeking advice from your healthcare professional.

What is a patch test?

People presenting with signs of a possible skin allergy often need to undergo a patch test to help determine what allergen might be triggering their symptoms. During a patch test, tiny amounts of different substances are applied to the skin. The area is then left undisturbed for several days to see if a reaction is produced. Skin allergy tests can be a highly effective way to identify the cause(s) of your allergy symptoms so you can adjust your lifestyle to avoid future symptoms. Speak to your healthcare professional about patch testing.

General care tips for allergy-prone skin

To put things simply, the best way to avoid the signs and symptoms of a skin allergy is to avoid exposure to known allergens. If you do end up experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, fortunately there are options to help ease the discomfort and help prevent further exacerbating the reaction. If possible, opt for loose clothing made from natural fibres to avoid friction on irritation-prone skin. Consult your healthcare professional if you’re concerned or your symptoms persist.

Allergy-prone skin still requires care and maintenance. Ensure your skincare routine is formulated for sensitive or allergy-prone skin. Our Toleriane Range is allergy-tested, fragrance-free and enriched with La-Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water to hydrate, soothe and support sensitive and allergy-prone skin.

Swap out your makeup remover for our fragrance-free Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser and follow up with our Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum, formulated with 0.1% Neurosensine to soothe and hydrate sensitive and allergy-prone skin. Seal in the hydration by smoothing on our Toleriane Ultra Eye Contour Sensitive Cream, before finishing up with the Toleriane Ultra Light Sensitive Moisturiser. By following these skincare recommendations for sensitive and allergy-prone skin, you can rest easy that your skin is in good hands.


Now that you’re fully informed about what causes skin allergies and how to avoid exacerbating the symptoms, it’s also useful to educate yourself about some of the other causes of sensitive skin. Read our guide to Sensitive Skin Causes: Internal and External for a helpful overview.