Skin allergies: a dermatologist explains the basics

For many people, allergies are linked to the arrival of spring. For these people, this season means feeling below par, a sore throat, sneezes and watery eyes. However, as Dr. Carolina Medina – member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology – points out, there are many other types of allergies, not only those linked to pollen. Among these allergies, cutaneous allergies (skin allergies) hold particular relevance, i.e. allergies that cause skin reactions.

Skin allergies

Allergy to exercise

Allergies can be caused by physical exercise. Some people experience symptoms after exercising such as small welts that itch constantly and gradually disappear a while after exercising.

Urticaria (also known as hives)

Urticaria is not particularly common but can be triggered by changes in temperature: cold, heat, sunlight, and even water.

Allergic reaction to sunscreens

cutaneous allergies linked to sunlight

This is another allergy that is fairly uncommon but there are some people who are allergic to sunscreen products. These can cause two different reactions – either getting a rash when the product is applied on your skin or experiencing it after the chemicals have reacted with sunlight.

Allergic reaction to cosmetic products

Normally, this type of allergic reaction is caused by a preservative which is present in many cosmetics and, also, personal hygiene and body care products; furthermore, it can be found in household cleaning products (soap, fabric conditioner).

Allergy to own hormones in women

This allergy frequently develops just before a woman’s period. The allergic reaction is due to progesterone, a hormone which is secreted by the ovaries.

How to treat allergies?

When a person knows what they are allergic to something, the most effective way of managing the allergy is obviously to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible. Furthermore, when a person suffers an allergic reaction for the first time, it is important to identify and recognise the symptoms on time, in order to be able to treat the allergy correctly.

The most common symptoms are:

skin allergies - symptoms

  • skin rash
  • dry, red and cracked skin
  • watering eyes
  • sneezing
  • runny or blocked nose
  • breathing difficulties

As some allergic reactions can be potentially life-threatening, it is important that persons at risk carry an epinephrine autoinjector with them at all times.

In order to correctly treat an allergy (of whichever type), it is necessary to avoid contact with the allergen, take the prescribed treatment and look into prevention by vaccination. For further information on each type of allergy, you should make an appointment with your GP or with a dermatologist.

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