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What is a skin allergy?

Thursday 24th April

Skin allergies – also known as allergic contact dermatitis - usually occur when your skin touches something which your immune system perceives as a threat. When an allergen triggers your immune system in this way, your white blood cells send out an antibody to combat the allergen. When the antibody sends out chemicals and hormones to neutralize the threat, they can affect your skin and tissues which results in the symptoms you will experience.

So what are the symptoms to look out for?

The symptoms of skin allergies can include the following:

The reactions may appear fairly soon after coming into contact with the allergen but in some cases may not appear until several hours or even days afterwards.

What are the causes?

Skin allergies are common and it can be difficult to determine what the actual cause is. Different kinds of rashes can be cause by a variety of things - including contact with cosmetics, dyes, perfumes, latex, metals, foods and detergents (amongst others).

You can pinpoint what has triggered your allergies if you pay attention to when you’ve had a reaction and what you’ve been in contact with around that time. Skin testing can also be performed.

Find out more information on how allergies are diagnosed or tested.

Useful links:

Allergy UK’s guide to skin allergies

Treatments for skin allergies

What affect can beauty lotions and household products have on your skin?

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