It is important to known processes involved in skin allergy test, types, symptoms and treatment in detail.
Skin allergy is a condition which leads to irritation of the skin as a response of the immune system to certain allergens. Skin irritation, which is caused due to different factors such as medications, heat, infections and disorders of the immune system, cannot be termed as skin allergy.
Types of common skin allergies
- Dermatitis or eczema: One can develop allergic contact dermatitis when there is direct contact of the skin with an allergen. For example, individuals with nickel allergy may develop bumpy itchy, scaly or swollen skin at a particular area of the skin, when that area comes into contact with jewelry that contains even small quantities of nickel.
- A chronic skin allergy condition known as atopic dermatitis is caused due to abnormalities of the immune system that governs the layers of skin. The disorder commences in infancy or during early childhood and is usually related to food allergies, asthma or hay fever.
- Individuals may also develop skin allergy dermatitis when they come into contact with the oily secretions present on various plants such as poison sumac, poison oak or poison ivy. One may come into direct contact with the toxins via the plants or indirect contact via pets, clothes, etc., leading to the development of itchy reddish rash
- Angioedema: It is a skin allergy condition that causes swelling and inflammation of the deeper layers of the skin. It usually develops on the soft skin tissues such as the genitals, eyelids or mouth.
- Angioedema that is chronic and recurrent can last for many days and often recur in regular intervals. The cause of this skin allergy disorder is unknown.
- Angioedema that lasts for only a few minutes to a few days is known as acute angioedema. It is a skin allergy condition that occurs as a reaction to certain foods and medications.
- Hereditary angioedema is a severe genetic skin allergy disorder, but is quite rare. It leads to swelling of the different parts of the body such as the face, hands, intestinal walls, feet and the respiratory tract.
- Urticaria or hives: It is a skin allergy condition that causes inflammation of the skin, which in turn is prompted by the secretion of histamine by the immune system. This triggers the leading of the tiny blood vessels resulting in swelling of the skin.
- Acute hives and chronic hives are the two types of hives. Acute instances of hives occur when one comes into contact with an allergen that acts as a trigger or due to intake of certain foods. Cases of chronic hives have a tendency to persist for many months and even years.
- It is important to note that individuals can develop hives due to various other factors besides the presence of a skin allergy, such as exercise, heat, insect bites or side effects of certain drugs. Skin allergies are not contagious
Treatment of skin allergy
Skin allergy dermatitis treatment includes the following:
- Ointments, creams and cold compresses can be used to alleviate the itch. Lotions should be avoided. Skin barriers can be restored with the aid of moisturizers.
- Scratching or rubbing the skin can result in bleeding and open wounds, which can in turn become vulnerable to infections. This can then lead to the development of permanent scars and damage of the skin.
- Products that have sodium laurel sulfate should be avoided
- The rash may be treated via topical corticosteroid creams; infections may be treated with antibiotics and itching may be eased via antihistamines
- It is important to avoid contact with all the allergens that may trigger the onset of skin allergy reactions.
- Hives may be treated with oral antihistamines that prevent the reoccurrence of hives and also help in controlling the itchiness. Inflammation and serious flare-ups of the hives need to be treated with corticosteroids.
Skin Allergy Test
There are three types of tests that are used to detect a person’s hypersensitivity to an allergen – the prick test, the patch test and the Skin End Point Titration
- The Prick Test – Also known as ‘scratch test’ this is done by pricking the skin with a needle or pin that have little amount of allergen at the point. This test is done to indentify if a person is allergic to pet dander, food, dust mites and pollen. Proven allergens like histamine are used to determine if the person has skin allergy.
- The Patch Test - This is done by applying a patch to the skin; this patch contains different suspected allergens. The patch is applied onto the skin, mostly at the back. The allergens can include various metals, hair dyes, medications, latex, fragrances, resin etc. The individual should not bath or exercise for at least 48 hours or till the doctor says, in order to find out if the person is hypersensitive to one or many allergens.
- Skin End Point Titration – This test for skin allergy known as intradermal test makes use of a Skin End Titration (SET in which an intradermal injection of allergens is administered, contains varying concentrations of certain allergens. The test involves very dilute solutions to study the allergic response. After 10 minutes, the doctor looks at the injected area to find out if there is a swelling. Two millimeters of swelling in ten minutes can mean skin allergy. To confirm, the dermatologist may administer injection again a second time, this time with a higher concentration. If the wheal grows bigger than 13 mm, it implies a major skin allergy and no more test is needed.
Skin Allergy Pictures
Here are pictures of skin allergy test
This is the Prick Test or Scratch Test
This allergy skin test is called the Patch Test
This is the Intradermal Skin Allergy Test