Every year, Americans spend $18 billion for allergy-related ailments. This number, based on data presented by the American College of Allergy, is quite alarming. While this $18 billion spent on said conditions covers allergies from skin contact allergens to drug reactions and everything in between, a sizable portion of this amount is spent on skin allergies.
Many households in the United States spend a portion of their income to treat skin allergies. This can be for their own allergies or those experienced by their children. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology notes that in 2012, 8.8 million children were recorded to have suffered from skin allergies. This is something to take note of because even if allergic reactions are usually mild, it is still best to visit a physician immediately because some rashes can be early symptoms of more serious ailments. While such instances are rare, it doesn’t hurt to make sure that what you are experiencing or what your child is experiencing is just a common reaction to common skin contact allergens.
Common Skin Contact Allergens and Irritants
Many allergies are caused by fragrances, household cleaners, soap, facial creams, sunscreen, and food. The question is, how do they enter our doors and later on, our system? Most people are busy and examining every product’s chemical composition is next to impossible. If you don’t know which items are causing your rashes, here are some of the most common skin irritants.
Although they are not intended for the skin, chemicals in household cleaners can cause allergic reactions when you are exposed to them. All-purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, toilet disinfectants and the like can cause skin allergies. To ensure that you don’t introduce skin irritants to your skin, wearing gloves when using these products is advised.
Soap is a good way to get rid of oil, germs, and dirt but using it excessively can result in dry skin. Many often overlook this issue, but if the skin is too dry, it can crack and bleed. Donald V. Belsito, MD, a University of Missouri clinical professor of medicine, notes that excessive hand washing is a problem. He adds that since we live in a germaphobic society, we keep using soap without attempting to truly protect our skin.
Facial creams can be effective if they are right for you. However, the ones that sting and burn will likely cause irritation if you continue using them. If you suspect that your current facial cream is irritating your skin, check for preservatives, alpha hydroxyl acids, and ascorbic acid because any of these three can be the culprit.
Rough fabrics can cause atopic dermatitis. This form of eczema involved skin inflammation and red and itchy skin. The National Eczema Association states that 18 million (72%) adults have atopic dermatitis and 9.6 million (13%) children develop it.
If you feel that a certain fabric is irritating your skin, it is best to throw them in the trash. Experts like Belsito suggest that you choose cotton poly fabrics and cotton to avoid skin irritation.
Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets
We love the smell of fresh sheets but sometimes, those wonderful fragrances in fabric softeners can cause irritation. If you suspect that your fabric softener is causing allergic reactions, it is time to switch to a fragrance-free product.
Many people have fragrance allergies, but since there are around 5,000 fragrances and many combinations, it can be difficult to determine which fragrance you are allergic to. This is why picking fragrance-free products is always a good move for people with sensitive skin.
Plants are lovely but some of them can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy are among the most common plant irritants in the country. They can cause itching and rashes that can last for 5 to 12 days.
Skin Testing for Allergies
Do you want to determine what you are allergic to? To avoid the guesswork, talk to your dermatologist about patch testing.
Patch testing involves testing a range of extracts that can cause allergic reactions. A specialist applies these extracts to the skin and if there is a reaction, they can tell you what you are allergic to.
Allergic Reactions: What to Do
Whenever a certain substance irritates your skin, your immune system reacts by creating antibodies to fight said substances. It can be anything from your food, medication, or the products you use.
While most allergies are mild and can wait, some skin allergies are life-threatening. These rashes are rare but when they happen, it is best to go to the emergency room immediately.
If you are suffering from a mild allergic reaction or have in the past, schedule a consultation with 0ne of our offices to discover what is causing it and how to prevent reactions in the future. If you are currently suffering from a severe allergic reaction, go to the hospital immediately or call 911 for help.
There are many skin conditions that cause red spots on the skin. It can be easy to confuse conditions at first glance, so we would like to take a closer look. Here are 21 conditions that cause common red spots on the skin and how to treat them.
1. Acne Bumps
Causes: Characterized by pimples, oily skin, scarring and hyperpigmentation, whiteheads, and blackheads. Acne (also known as acne vulgaris) occurs when oil, dead skin cells, and hair follicles are clogged within the skin.
Treatments: Acne treatments can vary from one person to the next depending on the severity of the condition. However, treatments are usually a combination of OTC and prescribed topical medication and possible dietary changes (such as avoiding sugary and oily foods and consuming more water, fruits, and vegetables).
Causes: Rosacea is a common condition that causes redness of the skin. It is similar in symptoms and signs to other conditions like acne and eczema. Doctors will perform tests to rule out those other conditions, and pay special attention to the patient’s historical skin patterns.
Treatments: The patient will need to use a combination of skincare and prescription medication to treat rosacea. One of our certified dermatologists will have to diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment.
3. Pityriasis Rosea
Causes: Pityriasis Rosea usually occurs in people between 10 and 35. Researchers suspect that is stems from a virus, and not by a bacteria, fungus, or allergic reaction.
Treatments: Treatments include using skin lotions and lubricants to soothe the itch. In severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe corticosteroids.
4. Tinea Versicolor
Causes: Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast that lives in the skin. Oily skin, excessive sweating, having a weak immune system and living in hot climates can all result in this condition.
Treatments: Simply observing the rash or using an ultraviolet light test can diagnose the condition. A combination of topical lotions, creams, shampoos, as well as pilled-medication, can be used to treat this condition.
5. Hair follicle infections (Folliculitis)
Causes: Folliculitis can appear on any part of the skin having hair and occurs whenever hair follicles are inflamed because of yeast, other fungi or bacteria. Shaving, wearing clothing that irritates the skin, sweating, oils, and makeup can all result in these small red spots on the body. Commonly affected areas include legs, arms, buttocks, back and the beard area of the face.
Treatments: Mild forms of the condition can heal on its’ own over a two-week period during which it can be soothed with a warm compress. However, more severe forms of Folliculitis can be treated with medicated shampoos and/or prescribed antibiotics.
Causes: Petechiae can appear on account of brown, purple or red spots on the legs, arms, stomach, buttocks or on the inside of eyelids and the mouth. This happens when capillaries (tiny blood vessels) break and the blood leaks into the skin. Infections of various kinds and reactions to medication are two common causes of red Petechiae blood spots on the skin.
Treatments: Depending on the nature of the condition, antibiotics, corticosteroids, immune suppressants and even chemotherapy in the instance where cancers like Lymphoma are among the causes.
Causes: Immune system over-activity causes Psoriasis. This condition includes inflammation, flaking, and thick silvery/white or red patches of the skin.
Treatments: Treatment options include a combination of topical steroids (creams), light therapy, oral medication, occlusion, and biologics.
Causes: Arguably one of the most common groups of skin conditions, the most common form of eczema is atopic eczema and atopic dermatitis. Eczema seems to be hereditary and linked to developing various allergies, although one cause has not been pinpointed for the condition.
Treatments: Treatment options include a combination of topical treatments (like creams and gels) and dietary or other lifestyle changes.
Causes: Also known as Urticaria, Hives appear as pale red bumps or plaques that are swollen and often appear suddenly as an allergic reaction to an irritant. Chronic cases can result from conditions like cancer or hepatitis infection, as well as from the use of certain medications.
Treatments: Hives will be diagnosed with an allergy test, and a doctor will usually prescribe Antihistamines to help treat the symptoms. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and applying cool compress can all help.
Causes: Skin rashes are one of the many symptoms of Lupus. Lupus itself is not a direct skin disorder but an auto-immune condition that can damage vital organs in severe cases.
Treatments: Due to the many symptoms of Lupus, doctors need to use a combination of treatments. As far as the skin rash goes, however, the patient can use anti-inflammatory medications and topical creams to treat it.
11. Poison Ivy
Causes: An allergic reaction to direct contact with the Poison Ivy plant causes a poison ivy rash.
Treatments: Most cases of Poison Ivy can be treated at home using an over-the-counter antihistamine, hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, a cool wet compress pack, or frequent warm oatmeal baths. If you have symptoms like shortness of breath – or the rash stays beyond a few days – we advise that you visit an emergency room.
Causes: Shingles is a viral infection that occurs when the chickenpox virus appears for the second time in the body. It can appear on any part of the body as a painful rash that oozes and eventually crusts.
Treatments: Treatments for shingles include topical creams that relieve inflammation, as well as using baking soda and cornstarch to dry the sores. Burow’s solution and tap water are great options for cleaning crusted sore and reducing oozing and inflammation.
Causes: Lymphoma is a lymphatic system cancer where white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, fight the disease in the body. Lymphoma can appear in different areas of the body, including the skin. In Lymphomas of the skin, a common symptom is a rash on the skin.
Treatments: Like most cancers, doctors can use chemotherapy and various oral medications to treat Lymphoma.
14. Cherry Angiomas
Causes: Cherry Angiomas are a skin growth resulting from red moles or spots that can appear in most areas of your body, usually in people aged 30 years and older. Small blood vessels contribute to the red coloration, but doctors do not know the exact cause. Doctors link this condition to chemical exposure, climate, certain kinds of medical conditions, and even pregnancy.
Treatments: Most cases of Cherry Angioma do not need to be treated (unless it is an indication of something more serious like cancer). However, it can be removed for cosmetic reasons through laser surgery, electrocauterization, and cryosurgery.
15. Basal-Cell Carcinoma
Causes: Basal-cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Causes include exposure to ultraviolet light, radiation therapy, long-term exposure to arsenic, and a weak immune system.
Treatments: If the cancer is small and localized, a doctor is able to remove it surgically with a simple excision or Mohs Surgery (a specialized microscopy procedure developed for skin cancer). In rarer cases, treatments may be cryotherapy (cold application), topical chemotherapy, laser surgery, or the prescription medication, Imiquimod.
16. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Causes: Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common type of skin cancer. The cause is usually too much sun exposure. is usually the cause.
Treatments: Squamous cell carcinoma is also commonly removed with excision or Mohs surgery. Other treatments include topical medications and various radiotherapies.
Causes: Genetics and DNA damage from too much exposure to the sun often causes Melanoma.
Treatments: Your doctor will use a biopsy to properly diagnose melanoma. A doctor will usually use surgical removal for this type of skin cancer as well. However, treatment may be more extensive depending on the number of cancerous moles present. Other treatments may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
18. Mosquito and Insect Bites
Causes: Some rashes result from insect bites including those from mosquitoes, spiders, ants, fleas, flies, and wasps. Following the insect bite is an allergic reaction in the form of a swollen, itchy bump.
Treatments: In most cases, rashes resulting from a mild allergic reaction to insect bites can go away on its’ own. However, you may need to take a trip to the emergency room or your general practitioner in the case of a more severe reaction. A doctor will prescribe a topical cream in these cases.
Causes: Cysts can occur in several parts of the body. Skin cysts (also known as sebaceous (epidermal) cysts) are sacs (bump or lump) under the skin which are full of sebum (a fluid that is a greasy and cheese-like material). One cause of cysts is a plugged hair follicle duct. These cysts can also result from an infected injury or hormone stimulation.
Treatments: Treatments for cysts include cleaning the affected area with antibacterial soap, applying a warm washcloth for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day (up to four) to increase blood circulation and speed healing. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if there is no change within a week, or if the cysts begin to pus.
20. Port Wine Stains/Birthmarks
Causes: Port Wine Stains or birthmarks are present at birth and are usually red or brown in their appearance.
Treatments: A specialist may use a variety of laser treatments to remove Port Wine Stains. The type of laser treatment used is dependent on the type of Port Wine Stain and the anatomical location. A doctor may suggest a series of treatments in order to obtain the best results. It is best to treat Port Wine Stains early in life. This is because they get thicker and darker over time and can lead to bleeding as a person ages.
Causes: Warts, wherever they appear, are an infection resulting from the Human Papillomavirus family.
Treatments: Removing warts is not always necessary. In the case of treating warts, chemical peels, some laser therapies, freezing or topical creams are great. Your doctor will discuss treatment options that will help remove warts without creating scar tissue. Salicylic acid can help with home treatments.
If you are experiencing any of these red spots on your skin or have other skin concerns, contact us to schedule an appointment.Lear More