Skin irritations are caused by a variety of factors. These include heat, immune
system disorders, medications and infections. When an allergen is responsible for
triggering an immune system response, the irritation is an allergic skin condition.
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 jewelry made with even a very small amount of nickel, you may develop red,
bumpy, scaly, itchy or swollen skin at the point of contact.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a chronic skin condition related to immune disfunction
in the layers of the skin. It usually begins in infancy or early childhood. It is often
associated with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or food allergy. This progressive
sequence is called the atopic march.
Urticaria (hives) are an inflammation of the skin triggered when the immune
system releases histamine, causing small blood vessels to leak leading to swelling
in the skin. Swelling in deep layers of the skin is called angioedema.
Hives can result from non-allergic causes such as heat or exercise. Hives can also
be an allergic reaction to medications, foods or insect bites.
Skin conditions are one of the most common forms of allergy treated and managed
by an allergist.