When your body comes into contact with an allergen, your immune system immediately goes to work to fight off the what it recognizes as an invader. When this occurs, your body releases antibodies to protect you from the allergen and a red, itchy rash can form on the surface of the skin. These bumpy, red, scaly, itchy patches can be uncomfortable and unsightly.

What are Skin Allergies?

Skin allergies can be the result of anything your body comes into contact with from airborne invaders, foods, chemicals used to wash your body or laundry, metal, or various medications. Your skin is the barrier that protects your body from outside elements. A skin allergy is a sign that your body is attempting to protect you from a substance that it perceives as harmful.

What are the Most Common Causes of Skin Allergies?

There are literally thousands of substances which can cause a skin allergy to occur. The most common causes are:

  • Metals, particularly nickel. If you have recently purchased a new piece of jewelry, it could be to blame for a skin allergy.
  • Fragrances. These synthetic scents are all around you and are frequently added to common products like laundry detergent, body lotion, or perfumes.
  • Cleaners, sunscreens, hair color, and antiperspirants. These products contain potentially irritating ingredients which may lead to an allergic reaction.
  • Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin and Bacitracin.
  • Latex is a common allergen and can be found in cleaning gloves, condoms, baby bottles, and balloons.
  • Natural plants like poison ivy, poison oak, or sumac.

How are Skin Allergies Treated?

Most skin allergies will resolve without treatment however, your symptoms may be made more tolerable though the use of over-the-counter antihistamines or corticosteroid creams. If you or your loved one has an allergic reaction and is having trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or other signs of anaphylaxis accompanied by a skin allergy, you should call 911 immediately, as this is a life-threatening condition that must be treated at once.