Thursday, 23 April 2015

Identifying a Skin Allergy

When an allergic reaction occurs, it simply means that your body is responding to a possible threat. Any foreign substance (antigen) triggers the body’s immune system. The system protects the body from harmful substances, such as toxins and bacteria. This is normal. However, when the immune system “over-reacts,” it causes an allergy. Meaning, there is a hypersensitivity to a harmless substance (allergen). Contact with certain specific allergens might trigger the immune system, rather than having a dormant effect. For successful skin allergies treatment, the first step is to identify the allergen.

A Skin Rash

A rash is the result of an allergic reaction; however, it is not a specific diagnosis. It changes the way the normal skin looks via discoloration and inflammation. The reaction to the allergen might be localized, such as itchy eyes or a spot skin rash. However, in some cases, the allergen can affect the whole body, causing multiple hives, also known as urticaria. Skin allergies treatment largely depends on the person’s immune system response. This is why it is important to consult a specialist, rather than trying home remedies. We can rarely predict how our system would react.

The Allergen

Anything from pollen and dust to shrimp and dog fur can be an allergen. Foods, drugs, insect bites and certain plants are common example. Identifying the trigger is extremely important for proper skin allergies treatment. Here are some common triggers:
1.      Unwanted Scents: Fragrances are one of the most common causes for allergies. However, this is not only related to perfumes. Such ‘allergen fragrances’ might be found in soaps, body washes, shampoos, room sprays and laundry detergents, to name a few. Even the fragrance of natural oils might cause an allergic reaction.

2.      Jewelry: The nickel content found in most jewelry is a common allergen. Apart from jewelry, you can find it in watch straps, glass frames and zippers.

3.      Hair Dye and Henna: A substance called para-phenylenediamine is found in hair dye and black henna. This is a common allergen. One hair dye might not be like the other, so always be sure to take a patch test before using any dye.

4.      Poison Ivy: Poison ivy secretes an oil called urushiol, which might cause an allergic reaction. The same oil is also found in poison sumac, as well as poison oak. However, not everyone is allergic to urushiol. A poison ivy rash spreads fast and might cause redness, hives and blisters. You might need skin allergies treatment to stop the adverse reactions.