When we come into contact with something we are allergic to our skin can often be the first sign of a reaction. Understanding the types of allergic reactions on the skin is a crucial way of spotting when you, or someone close to you, is experiencing an allergic reaction.
So what are the different types of allergic reactions on the skin?
1 – Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Eczema is one of the most common types of allergic reactions on the skin, especially in children, as their skin is often most sensitive. It affects one in five infants but only around one in fifty adults. The first symptom of eczema is usually an intense itching, followed by the appearance of a red rash that has bumps of different sizes. The rash is often described as itchy and may burn, especially in the thin skin of the eyelids.
If scratched, the rashy skin may ooze and become crusty. Some people with eczema have a food sensitivity which can make eczema symptoms worse. In about half of severe atopic dermatitis cases, the disease is due to the inheritance of a faulty gene in their skin, it is also often linked to allergic rhinitis.
2- Urticaria (Hives)
Hives are another of the most common types of allergic reaction on the skin and possibly one of the most recognisable. They are an inflammation of the skin which appears when the immune system releases a chemical called histamine. This causes small blood vessels deep inside the skin to leak, which leads to a swelling in the skin. There are two kinds of hives, acute and chronic. Whilst acute hives occur at times after eating or coming into contact with a particular allergen, it can also be triggered by causes such as:
Chronic hives can last up to years at a time and are rarely caused by specific triggers.
3- Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is similar to atopic dermatitis but occurs only when your skin comes in direct contact with an allergen. Like atopic dermatitis and other types of allergic reaction on the skin, you may develop red, bumpy, scaly, itchy or swollen skin at the point of contact.
Angioedema is one of the less well-known types of allergic reaction on the skin. Angioedema usually appears in soft tissues such as the eyelids, mouth or genitals. Angioedema is usually referred to as “acute” if the condition lasts a matter of minutes or hours. Acute angioedema is commonly caused by an allergic reaction to:
Angioedema becomes known as chronic when the condition returns over a long period of time. In this case, it typically doesn’t have an identifiable cause.
A further type of allergic reaction on the skin is hereditary angioedema (HAE). This is a rare, but serious genetic strain of angioedema involving swelling in the hands, feet, face, intestinal wall and airways. This particular type of allergic reaction on the skin does not respond to antihistamines or adrenaline as a treatment and so it is important to go see a specialist.
If you find you are suffering from any of these types of allergic reaction on the skin, make sure you arrange your next check-up in Malaga to see a doctor as soon as possible.