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There are numerous types of allergic skin disorders. In general, skin allergies appear as red, very itchy, swollen, bumpy areas of skin.
In patients with skin allergies, skin contact with certain substances trigger a skin reaction. The intensity of the reaction depends on the amount of the substance the person was exposed to, the amount of time exposed to it, and how “bad” that person’s allergy is. Allergy to a substance can occur even after years of exposure.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
ACD is a type of allergic skin reaction that occurs when certain substances come in contact with the skin. The affected skin will look red, swollen, and may have blisters. The skin will also be severely itchy. The most common areas affected are the face, the forearms, and the hands. Common causes of ACD include poison ivy, nickel, perfumes, dyes, latex or rubber, or certain cosmetics.
The first step is to discover exactly which substances are causing the reaction. Patch testing may be performed if the offending substance is unknown. This is the only way the doctor can detect what substances are the culprit. Once the allergens are identified, you must avoid any contact with those substances. A topical treatment such as a corticosteroid may be given in order to sooth the exaggerated skin response. After treatment is finished, it is best to keep the skin regimen minimal to avoid additional allergen contact.
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder. It is caused by dysfunction of the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). It is thought that eczema has a genetic cause. In eczema, the skin is usually dry, very itchy, and thickened due to chronic scratching. Eczema flare-ups are triggered by many factors. It is best to be aware of these triggers and avoid them. People with eczema should try to avoid excessive heat (e.g., bathing in hot temperatures), excessive sweating, excessive bathing, emotional stress, anxiety, and low-humidity environments. This may seem frustrating at first, but it is possible to make slight lifestyle adjustments that will ease the pain of eczema.
Existing rashes are usually treated with topical medications. The severe urge to itch is commonly treated with antihistamine medication. Stopping the itching keeps the skin barrier intact and prevents infection.
Keeping the skin properly hydrated is an essential factor in controlling eczema. Contrary to popular belief, lotions, creams, and ointments are not all equally beneficial. Moisturizers with high water content are worse for eczema because the water evaporates and dries out the skin, which can actually stimulate outbreaks of eczema. Lotions contain the most water. The better options for skin moisturizers are creams or ointments: creams contain less water, and ointments contain none. This helps keep the epidermal layer intact.
Urticaria is the fancy name for hives. Urticaria appears as raised, red, intensely itchy areas of skin. They are usually caused by food allergies, drug allergies, insect stings, or infection. In many cases, however, there is no specific cause. Physical urticaria is a different type of hives with non-allergic causes such as extremes in temperature, exercise, excessive pressure or rubbing of the skin, or sun exposure. Chronic urticaria can be very frustrating to deal with and hard to treat. However, you must be patient and carefully adhere to any medication or management plan. Keep in mind that almost half of patients with chronic urticaria have it subside after only one year.
The skin is a barrier between your vital internal organs and the outside environment. When a rash develops, there has been a change in skin color or texture along the surface. Although a rash is generally found to be a minor problem with at-home treatment, it is important to be aware of the type of rash in order to evaluate its seriousness. If not properly diagnosed and treated, rashes can worsen and require medical care and advisement.
Rashes can be caused by contact with viral infections such as herpes, bacterial infections such as sexually transmitted diseases, fungal infections such as yeast infection and irritants, such as allergens like poison ivy. A rash can develop within 48 hours after contact with an irritant and can vary from the appearance of small red bumps, swelling, and redness, to larger blisters, crusty, or scaly areas.
Rashes can also appear as a warning sign that something else is wrong with your body. If problems persist such as pain, rapid swelling, large amounts of skin peeling, and bleeding blisters, it is important to see a dermatologist, especially if symptoms persist longer than usual (two to five days). Dr. Rokhsar offers NYC rash treatment to patients throughout Manhattan and Long Island.
Tinea cruris, more commonly known as Jock Itch, is a fungal infection located in the groin, inner thighs and buttocks region. It is a contagious condition that can appear as a red, itchy, rash with bumps. A form of ringworm often transmitted in warm, moist places where the fungus can thrive. Although jock itch most commonly affects male athletes because of their frequency in public showers and locker rooms, anyone can contract the virus. Tinea pedis, the fungal infection of the foot can spread and turn into jock itch and if not jointly treated, it may be difficult for a patient to recover from infection.
Topical antifungal creams are the most typical form of treatment and are most effective when applied twice daily. Oral antifungal medications are also available. While treating infection, it is helpful to avoid fitted clothing such as bathing suits and singlets in order to dry out the infected area.
Patch testing is performed in order to find out what substance(s) are creating an allergic reaction on the skin.
The “patches” are a standard set of allergens that are applied to the skin. The set includes the most common substances that trigger allergic contact dermatitis, also known as simply skin allergies.
If the patient’s own products (for example lotion or makeup) are suspected to be causing an allergic reaction, patch testing will be customized. Another set of “patches” that contain the patient’s personal skin products will be added to the set of patches.
Patch testing will take a bit of time to perform. The process is time-consuming, but the results will help your doctor narrow down what is causing your symptoms and bring you closer to treatment! Sweating and heat can cause the tests to be invalid; so it is best to avoid showering, exercise, and extreme heat or humidity during the testing period. Sun exposure should be avoided before testing and for at least four weeks after testing. Three visits are required in one week:
During the first visit, the patches are applied, usually on the skin of the back. The patches are small strips of tape containing diluted substances (the possible allergens).
After two days, the patches are removed and the doctor makes an initial reading. The two days are needed so that the allergens have enough time to diffuse into the skin. It is best to wait to read the results until the redness from having the patch removed has gone away.
The third and final visit is when the doctor will read the results again. This is necessary in order to determine whether a reaction is an irritant reaction or a true allergic reaction.
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