At least 20% of Americans suffer from a skin allergy, a condition that may get harder to heal the longer it goes untreated. If you develop an itchy, red rash, the experienced doctors at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic can determine the source of your skin allergy and prescribe effective treatment. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the 13 offices throughout the Pacific Region, including Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho.
A skin allergy, called allergic contact dermatitis, occurs when your immune system reacts to a substance that comes into contact with your skin, releasing chemicals that cause a rash and other skin symptoms. It takes time for the allergen to get through your skin and trigger the immune system. As a result, the rash is usually delayed, often appearing several days after exposure to the allergen.
You can also develop skin reactions from numerous irritants, a condition called contact dermatitis. However, the resulting rash isn’t an allergy because the immune system isn’t involved.
You can develop a skin allergy the first time you’re exposed to an allergen, or it could take years of contact with the substance before an allergic skin rash appears. These are a few examples of substances that often cause skin allergies:
Chances are you’re familiar with the classic symptoms of a skin allergy:
Ongoing inflammation and itching can lead to darkened, leathery skin.
Your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic may be able to determine the source of your skin allergy by reviewing your medical history and learning about when your symptoms began. In many cases, a skin patch test is needed to pinpoint your allergen.
To perform a patch test, the team at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic puts several suspected allergens on a patch, then the patch is placed on your back. After wearing the patch for 48 hours, you return to the office and get checked for skin reactions.
Once your allergen is identified, treatment begins with the creation of a plan to avoid contact with that substance. Your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic also prescribes topical corticosteroid creams and skin care products to relieve symptoms and maintain healthy skin. In severe cases, you may need oral medication for swelling and itching.
To get expert treatment for skin allergies, call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or schedule an appointment online.