So What is an Allergic Reaction?
Irritated skin can be caused by a variety of factors. These include immune system disorders, medications & infections. When an allergen triggers an immune system response, then this is called an allergic skin condition.
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Eczema is the most common skin condition, which affects one in five infants but only around one in fifty adults. Some experts think it is due to “leakiness” of the skin barrier, which causes it to dry out and become prone to irritation and inflammation when exposed to some environmental factors. Some people also have a food sensitivity which can make eczema symptoms worse. Then again people with severe atopic dermatitis find that it is due to inheriting a faulty gene in their skin called filaggrin. The itch of eczema is not caused by histamine so anti-histamines do not control the symptoms. Eczema is often linked with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or food allergy.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in direct contact with an allergen. For instance, if you have a nickel allergy and your skin comes in contact with jewellery made with nickel,[even a small amount] you may develop red, bumpy, scaly, itchy or swollen skin at the point of contact. This used to happen to me regularly; the back of wristwatches were often made with nickel.
Some plants like poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac can also cause allergic contact dermatitis. The red, itchy rash is caused by an oily coating on these plants. The allergic reaction can come from touching the plants or even gardening tools that have come in contact with the oil. Touching clothing or pets can also cause a reaction.
Hives can also be triggered by non-allergic causes like heat or exercise, medications, foods or insect bites. It is an inflammation of the skin triggered when the immune system releases histamine which causes small blood vessels to leak, in turn causing the swelling in the skin. You will be urged not to scratch the itch because that will causes more damage & more itching & swelling. Hives are not contagious even though they are often uncomfortable & in some cases, painful. Urticaria can be labelled as acute or chronic. Acute urticaria occurs after eating a particular food e.g. lobster or coming in contact with a particular trigger e.g. penicillin cream. Chronic urticaria is rarely caused by a specific trigger so allergy tests are not usually any use & it can last for months or years.
Angioedema is swelling in the deep layers of the skin & it is often seen together with urticaria (hives). Angioedema may occur in soft tissue e.g. the eyelids, mouth or genitals. Acute angioedema typically lasts for minutes or hours & is commonly caused by an allergic reaction to medications, foods or latex. Chronic recurrent angioedema is when the condition returns over a long period of time & does not appear to have an identifiable cause.
There are doctors who specialise in skin conditions, they are called a dermatologist, allergist or immunologist. These people are trained to accurately diagnose your condition and provide relief for your symptoms.
Unfortunately the medical system can only treat the symptoms with drugs & medications & not the underlying cause for the reaction – so if you can find out the cause/trigger for yourself you will be able to heal much faster.
Also in a previous post I discovered some of the potentially harmful ingredients e.g. propylene glycol are also in pharmaceutical preparations so to my mind going for the medical route in the first instance may actually be counterproductive.
I would use a kinesiologist if I couldn’t identify the cause of a reaction & boost my immune system. My thinking is that any reaction is an outward sign of a deficient immune system so my first course of action would be to use ice or a cool bath to reduce skin stress & up my mineral & vitamin consumption massively & see what happens over a few days.
I can refer anyone interested to Sarah Flynn my kinesiologist [& no, I don’t get paid for referrals to her – she is just a great practitioner] so just let me know if you would like help…