Allergies with Skin Sensitivity: Symptoms, Allergens and Treatments

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Many different allergies can cause skin sensitivity. Its symptoms are weeping or blistering rashes, scurf, itching or even hives. Most allergies with skin sensitivity show first symptoms about 24 hours after contact with the allergen. Even after the allergen has been removed, the symptoms worsen. About three days after the contact, they reach their peak.

Which Allergens Can Cause Skin Sensitivity?

Skin sensitivity is most often a symptom of contact allergies. The most common contact allergy is against nickel. About 10% of all women and 1% of all men suffer from a nickel allergy. About 15% of all people suffer from some kind of a contact allergy at some point in their life. Especially professionals like coiffeurs and cleaning personnel often develop contact allergies. Their natural skin barrier is weakened by constant contact with water and chemicals (e.g. hair shampoo, cleaning chemicals) and the allergens have easy access to the skin. Other professionals who are in regular contact with some kind of chemicals or even flour (bakers) tend to develop contact allergies as well.

Many chemicals like laundry detergents (e.g. soaps) and fragrances, like the ones used in dish soaps, cosmetics or even toilet paper, are among the most common allergens for allergies with skin sensitivity. Other common allergens include talc and latex which are both used for gloves. However, even food like peanuts, wheat, dairy products or eggs can cause skin sensitivity.

How Can Allergies with Skin Sensitivity Be Treated?

As with all kinds of allergies, the best way to treat it is to prevent any contact with the allergen. When the skin is already itching, blistering and shows rashes or hives, hydrocortisone creams can provide quick relief. Cooling packs can help too as inflamed skin often feels hot. Another way to treat the symptoms, or rather to prevent them, is to use moisturizers such as hand lotions on a regular basis.

The only way to really heal an allergy with skin sensitivity, however, is allergen desensitization. This therapy aims at accustoming the immune system to the allergen so that it reacts in a normal way instead of an allergic way. The allergen is injected under the skin in slowly increasing doses over a period of three years. The allergen desensitization is the only known therapy which cures the allergy’s cause.

When Do You Have to See a Doctor?

When your rashes or hives worsen although you treat them with hydrocortisone cream and moisturizers, you might need stronger medications for treatment. You can’t treat uncontrollable itching yourself, either. If your skin shows strong signs of infection, you should also go to see a doctor about it to make sure you aren’t developing anything worse.


Rashes and Skin Allergies:

Thiemes Pflege, Das Lehrbuch für Pflegende in Ausbildung, p. 1206 (Susanne Schewior-Popp, Franz Sitzmann, Lothar Ullrich), Thieme Verlag (Germany)

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