close up on hand and nails

Understand how skin allergies are triggered

As with respiratory and digestive system reactions where your body reacts when an allergen is inhaled or ingested, your skin reacts when it comes into contact with a chemical or certain substance that you are allergic to. In most cases your skin will react over a period of time , however there are substances that you may be allergic to where you will see an immediate reaction to the allergen. In both cases your skin will become irritated and very itchy, this can be very serious on your skin. One of the best ways to manage skin allergies is to know what substance or chemical  is triggering the condition in the first place.

Identify the allergen

This can be difficult as there are at least three thousand known allergens and irritants that can trigger a skin allergy. However, you can narrow the search down by looking at substances that you know your skin has come into contact with. Skin irritants and allergens are mainly grouped in two general types, man-made and natural.

Latex- this comes from a Brazilian rubber tree, although a natural protein when it goes through the manufacturing process it can become an allergen that triggers a reaction when brought into contact with a person skin.

Latex is present in several things including gloves, balloons, pencil erasers, elastic bands (including those found in elasticated clothing bands). If you discover you are allergic to latex avoid contact with anything that contains it.

Nickel – nickel is found in many everyday things including coins, jewellery, zips, scissors, handles on doors and cabinets. It can also be found in some cosmetic products including eye shadows and mascaras. The amount of people suffering from a nickel allergy has risen to 40% in recent years mainly due to the increased popularity of body piercings, jewellery and cosmetics.

Aside from these obvious things natural nickel can also be found in some foods so if you are suffering severe symptoms you should consult a specialist and undergo a supervised medical diet. There is currently no way to desensitize your body from nickel allergy reactions the only thing you can do it stay away from it.

Taking good care of your skin

A very simple step that you can do to protect your skin is to cut your fingernails, keeping your nails short will reduce the amount of damage that you can do to your skin by scratching.

Always keep your skin well moisturised, this will keep it soft, as dry skin always tends to irritate easily. For people that suffer from a reaction to certain chemicals, doctors may recommend a preparation that includes a topical corticosteroid that will help to manage the inflammation.

Do not take very hot showers, the heat will dry out your skin increasing the itchiness and triggering  more allergic reactions. When bathing use lukewarm water and soak for 20-30 minutes. Adding oatmeal or baking soda to the water can help to soothe your skin. Do not use bubble baths, they can stop the water from moisturising your skin, always use mild or non-soap cleanser.

Avoid the heat

Keeping your body cool is very important, avoid heavy clothing, and avoid sweating excessively.
Increased body heat and perspiration can trigger skin allergy rashes. If you partake in any physical exercise that makes you sweat a lot always shower as soon as possible when you have finished. You should also remember to shower as soon as possible if you have been swimming in a pool to remove the chlorine from your skin. You should also remember to shower as soon as possible if you have been swimming in a pool to remove the chlorine from your skin

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