Bumps, itching, redness and other skin conditions are very common in Skin Allergy, and their cause may not be easily identifiable. Rashes can be caused by many things, including plants (poison ivy, for example), allergic reactions to a medication or a food, or an illness (measles or chickenpox, for example). Eczema and hives, both of which are related to Skin Allergy, are two of the most common skin rashes.
Skin Allergy can be caused by a variety of factors. These include immune system disorders, medications, and infections. When an allergen is responsible for triggering an immune system response, then it is an allergic skin condition.
What is atopic dermatitis?
It is one of the most common skin allergy. Atopic dermatitis (also known as AD) is the most common type of eczema. In fact, more than 18 million American adults have atopic dermatitis — which often appears as a red, itchy rash normally on the cheeks, arms and legs. Atopic dermatitis typically begins in childhood, usually in the first six months of a baby’s life. Even though it’s a common form of eczema, it’s also severe and long-lasting. When you or your child have atopic dermatitis, it may improve at times, but at others, it may get worse. Often, atopic dermatitis disappears as a child grows older, though some children will have atopic dermatitis flares into adulthood.
Atopic dermatitis exists with two other allergic conditions: asthma and hay fever (allergic rhinitis). People who have asthma and/or hay fever or who have family members who do are more likely to develop AD.
What causes atopic dermatitis?
We don’t know the exact cause of atopic dermatitis. Researchers do know that a combination of genetics and other factors are involved. When a substance from inside or outside the body triggers the immune system, it over-reacts and produces inflammation. It is this inflammation that causes the skin to become red, rashy and itchy.
Research also shows that some people with eczema, especially atopic dermatitis, have a mutation of the gene responsible for creating filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that helps our bodies maintain a healthy, protective barrier on the very top layer of the skin. Without enough filaggrin to build a strong skin barrier, moisture can escape and bacteria, viruses and more can enter. This is why many people with atopic have very dry and infection-prone skin.
We also know that atopic dermatitis runs in families, but we don’t know the exact way it is passed from parents to children. If one parent has AD, asthma, or hay fever, there’s about a 50% chance that their child will have at least one of these diseases. If both parents have one or more of these conditions, the chances are much greater that their child will, too.
An estimated 10% of all people worldwide are affected by atopic dermatitis at some point in their life. The condition seems to be more common in urban areas and developed countries. Either way, atopic dermatitis is not contagious. You or your child cannot “catch” it from another person, or give it to someone else.
Itching for relief?
If you scratch too much, it could cause your atopic dermatitis to flare up
• Get tips on managing the itch — like keeping your hands busy with other activities so you’re less likely to scratch
• Understand which allergens and substances can further irritate your atopic dermatitis
• Learn more about the best fabrics to wear that won’t irritate your skin
• Explore simple changes you can make in your daily life to help your symptoms
What’s the difference between eczema and atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is considered a more severe type of eczema. People with atopic dermatitis may experience a number of different sensitivities for the rest of their lives:
• Dry skin that becomes easily irritated
• Occupational skin diseases like hand dermatitis
• Skin infections like staph and herpes
• Eye problems like eyelid dermatitis or cataracts
There are other types of eczema that cause itching and redness, but some will also cause your skin to blister, “weep,” or peel. It’s important to understand which of the different types of eczema you or your child may have, so that you can better treat and manage it. The only way to be sure that you or your child has this condition is to make an appointment with your health care provider.
What are the symptoms of atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is chronic, meaning it does not usually go away in a few days or weeks. It might get better or worse but the symptoms typically return.
Atopic dermatitis is very itchy. Your or your child’s skin can become damaged from repeated scratching or rubbing. Atopic dermatitis normally appears on the cheeks, arms, and legs, but can be anywhere on the body.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Cracks behind the ears
- A rash on the cheeks, arms and/or legs
- Open, crusted or “weepy” sores (usually during flares)
If the skin becomes infected, it may form a yellow crust or small pus-filled bumps. The skin may also become thicker from scratching and rubbing.
Other types of eczema, such as contact dermatitis may look like atopic dermatitis. It is possible to have atopic dermatitis and another type of eczema at once.
What makes atopic dermatitis flare or get worse?
When trying to identify triggers that might aggravate your atopic dermatitis, keep in mind that a flare can appear some time after exposure.
Though triggers can vary from person to person, some of the most common atopic dermatitis triggers include:
- Dry skin— which can easily become brittle, scaly, rough, and tight
- Chemical irritants— everyday products or substances (hand and dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, bubble bath and body wash, or surface cleaners and disinfectants) that can cause your skin to burn and itch, or become dry and red
- Stresscan cause a person’s atopic dermatitis to flare or get worse
- Hot/cold temps and sweatingcan lead to itchy skin or “prickly heat” symptoms from the heat and/or sweating and very dry skin can develop during the cold winter months
- Infectionfrom bacteria and viruses that live in your environment (like staph, herpes, or certain types of fungi)
- Allergensfrom everyday materials in the environment like seasonal pollen, dust mites, pet dander and mold
- Hormones— flares may happen, especially in women, when certain hormones in the body increase or decrease
How can I control my atopic dermatitis?
Managing atopic dermatitis comes down to these basics:
- Know your triggers
- Implement a regular bathing and moisturizing routine
- Use OTC and/or prescription medication consistently and as prescribed
- Watch for signs of infection — pus-filled bumps, pain, redness, heat — on the skin
When managing atopic dermatitis, it is important to be consistent with skin care including using OTC and prescription medications as directed.
Here are some things you can do to help control your atopic dermatitis:
- Establish a daily skin care routine focused on bathingand moisturizing and using OTC and prescription treatments as directed.
- Try to pinpoint your atopic dermatitis triggers, but don’t worry if you are unable to identify them all.
- As much as you are able, try not to scratch and rub the affected skin. Dress in soft, breathable clothing and avoid itchy fabrics like wool.
Treatment for atopic dermatitis
Depending on the severity of symptoms, atopic dermatitis can be treated with topical medications, which are applied to the skin; phototherapy, a form of light treatment; immunosuppressant drugs that broadly curb the immune system; and biologic drugs that target specific areas of the immune system. In extreme cases, systemic (taken by mouth or injection) steroids are used, though not recommended for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.
Hives are an inflammation of the skin triggered when the immune system releases histamine. This causes small blood vessels to leak, which results in swelling in the skin. Swelling in deep layers of the skin is known as angioedema. There are two kinds of urticaria, acute and chronic. Acute urticaria occurs at times after eating a particular food or coming in touch with a particular trigger. it could also be caused by way of non-allergic causes such as heat or workout, as well as medicinal drugs, foods, insect bites or infections. chronic urticaria is not often caused by specific triggers and so allergy exams are generally no longer beneficial. chronic urticaria can last for many months or years. despite the fact that they may be frequently uncomfortable and from time to time painful. Hives aren’t contagious.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes in direct touch with an allergen. as an example, when you have a Gold allergy and your skin comes in contact with jewelry made with even a totally small amount of Gold, you can increase red, bumpy, scaly, itchy or swollen skin at the point of touch.
Coming in touch with poison ivy, poison oak. poison sumac can also cause allergic contact dermatitis. The red, itchy rash is as a result of an oily coating covering those plants. The allergic reaction can come from simply touching them, or by touching clothing, pets or even gardening tools that have come in contact with the oil.
Angioedema is swelling inside the deep layers of the skin. it is often visible together with urticaria (hives). Angioedema normally occurs in soft tissues including the eyelids, mouth or genitals. Angioedema is called “acute” if the situation lasts only a short time such as minutes to hours. Acute angioedema is commonly caused by an allergic reaction to medications or foods. chronic recurrent angioedema is when the condition returns over an extended time period. It commonly does no longer have an identifiable cause.