A skin allergy, or what is correctly called contact dermatitis, occurs when your skin comes in contact with something it is allergic to. There are many things that can cause contact dermatitis such as latex, hair dye, perfumes, make ups, bath powders and some household cleaning products. Latex skin allergies are becoming more common as latex is used in many products such as condoms, rubber bands, bathing suits and some toys. It is extremely important if you are allergic to latex that you advise your physician, dentist or any other healthcare worker so they do not use any latex based products on you. The most common skin allergens are poison ivy and poison oak. We all know someone who has come in contact with these in the garden at some point who have developed the painful and itching weeping blisters that accompany it.
Eczema is also considered a skin allergy. Eczema is generally an inherited trait and it usually starts in childhood. A eczema sufferer will have skin that is dry and itchy. There is sometimes also flaking and scaling of the skin and weeping blisters. Children who suffer from eczema are usually found to suffer from hay fever and asthma too.
Hives are another form of contact dermatitis that can be brought on from an internal allergen, such as an allergy to food or medicine, or from an external allergen such as contact with an animal, some plants (poison ivy or poison oak) or soap products. For some foods like chocolate, nuts, tomatoes, and berries can cause hives. Most hives appear quickly but are gone within 24 to 48 hours.
As with other types of allergies such as seasonal pollen, animal allergy or food allergy there is no cure for skin allergies. Most outbreaks of contact dermatitis can be treated with over the counter antihistamines. The best way to avoid an outbreak is to avoid what is causing the outbreak. You can look for non allergenic and fragrance free make up and beauty products. Those who suffer from eczema should avoid extremes of heat and cold and use heavy moisturizers on their skin to help protect and heal it.