Irritated or inflamed skin can be caused by a variety of factors including immune system disorders, drugs and infections. When an allergen is triggering an immune system response, then it is an allergic skin condition.
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Eczema is one of the most common skin condition, especially in kids. It can influence one in five infants or one in fifty adults. It is now known to be due to “leakiness” of the skin barrier, which causes it to dry out and become prone to infection and inflammation by many environmental factors. Also, some patient with eczema have a food sensitivity which can make eczema symptoms even worse. In about half of patient with severe atopic dermatitis, the disease is due to inheritance of a faulty gene in skin called filaggrin. Unlike with urticaria (hives), the itching due to eczema is not only caused by histamine so anti-histamines may not control the symptoms. Eczema often comes along with with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or food allergy. This order of progression is called the atopic march.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis attacks when your skin comes in direct contact with an allergen. For instance, if you have a nickel allergy and skin comes in contact with jewelry made with or a very small amount of nickel, you might develop red, bumpy, scaly, itchy or irritated skin at the point of contact.
Coming in contact with poison ivy, poison oak can also trigger allergic contact dermatitis. The itchy red rash is caused by an oily coating covering the plants. The allergic reaction come from actually touching the oil or clothing, pets or gardening tools that have come in contact with them.
Hives are an skin inflammation triggered when the immune system releases histamine. This causes small blood vessels to leak, which leads to inflammation or swelling in the skin. Swelling in deep layers of the skin is called angioedema. There are two types of urticaria, acute and chronic. Acute urticaria occurs after eating a certain food or coming in contact with a specific trigger. It can also be causes by non-allergic risk factors such as heat or exercise, as well as medicines, foods, insect biting or infections. Chronic urticaria is rarely caused by particular triggers and so allergy testings are usually less helpful. Chronic urticaria can last for months or years. Though they are often upset and sometimes irritated, hives are not contagious.
Angioedema is swelling in the deep layers of your skin. It often comes along with urticaria (hives). Angioedema usually occurs in soft tissues such as the eyelids, mouth or genitals. Angioedema is considered as “acute” if the condition lasts only a short time such as minutes to hours. Acute angioedema is commonly caused by an allergic reaction to medicines or foods. Chronic repeated angioedema is when the condition returns over a long period of time. It typically does not have an identifiable cause.
Hereditary angiodema (HAE)
Hereditary angiodema (HAE) is a rare but serious genetic condition involving swelling on any body parts including the hands, feet, face, intestinal wall and airways.When it does not respond to treatment with hae, it is important to go see a health care specialists.
Skin conditions are one of the most common forms of allergy treated and managed by an allergist, a physician with specialized training and expertise to accurately diagnose your condition and provide relief for your symptoms.