Sometime while walking down the streets, you’ve noticed a woman with a great hair. You try to keep close to her, you want to see the totality of the beauty. Only for you to get really close and be disappointed. What’s wrong? Her skin! Her hair’s doing great but the skin isn’t. What could be the problem? You begin to ask questions in your mind as you walk away…

… Isn’t she putting in enough effort to her skin like she does to her hair? Or is her skin just rebellious? Is she unlucky? You wanna attach a reason to the disappointment from her skin. Most time you won’t find an answer, or you just don’t wanna judge.

Me too, I don’t like to be “judgy”. But I know a couple of reasons why her skin isn’t great. And I’ll just share them with you right away:

15 reason your skin isn’t doing great enough

  1. Poor or irregular skin care routine
  2. Poor diet
  3. Environmental pollution
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Incompatible skin products
  6. Stress
  7. Lack of good sleep
  8. Dehydrated skin
  9. Smoking
  10. Over-sweating
  11. Exposure to sunlight
  12. Poor habits and lifestyle
  13. Consumption of alcohol
  14. Exposure to blue light from your devices
  15. Skin Allergies

From the first reason why your skin isn’t doing great enough to the fifteenth, each is significant enough to be responsible for a poor skin. They may also affects the skin collectively. That is; a skin condition can be as a result of just a single factor or as a result of multiple factors.

A messy skin is the last thing you wanna see in the mirror. You don’t want your self-confidence tampered-with due to a poor skin. You want to wake up each morning and get your ever-radiant skin reflecting back to you from the mirror. You’ll love walk through the streets and get people turning back to get a glimpse of your radiance.

All you dream of is to walk into your office space and get your colleagues smiling at you, because you’ve got something to brighten up their day- A PERFECT SKIN! You want to get your income blooming because you have a great skin. You want your friends and acquaintance running to you for advice on how to get a brilliant complexion. You just want a glowing skin and be HAPPY!

This is your dream, this is your desire. And to keep up with it, you’ve been doing your best. But your best isn’t paying off, it isn’t bringing you closer to your dream. Instead, it seems to be drifting you away. You’ve been faithful to your skin-cleansing routine and won’t miss it for anything. You’ve read up beauty tips and advice from the internet, you use the best skin products that you probably recommended to your friend and her skin’s doing great, but yours isn’t. Then you ask; “why me?” “Why is my skin this rebellious?” “Why can’t my dream come true?” “Why can’t I be happy?”…

…Wait a minute, didn’t this ever cross your mind… Oh no! I’m not talking about your diet, neither am I asking you to change your skin product to the next. I mean why don’t you check internally, or does it add up why a product will work for your friend but won’t work for you? Maybe you’ve not been listening to your body enough. It’s been giving you signs that your skin doesn’t agree to the conditions you are subjecting it to. You thought you’ve been giving it the best, but your best turns out to be the worst. And it’s been rebelling all this while just like an angry teenager.

Allergy– that the term for your skin’s rebellious act.

You’ve been giving it the exact opposite of what it wants. To bring your nightmare to an end you need to understand the term Allergy, and how it applies to your skin. Maybe you’ve not had an experience of skin allergy before. It’ll be great if you too can relax and take your time as I take you the concept of allergy, how it affects your skin, and definitely precautions and solutions that’ll help.

So, what is allergy?

Allergy is the way our body reacts negatively to foreign substances, especially those that poses danger to our body. This is a simple way to define allergy. Generally, it is our body’s immune system that is responsible for the reaction. The immune system functions as a defence system to the body. It senses danger easily and springs into action to [prevent the danger from harming the body.

The threats are mainly in form of external substances and conditions. They are commonly referred to as allergens. Allergens take various forms, and can be specific to individuals (That is, we may be allergic to different substances or at different degree). Common allergens includes; pollen, dust, pet dander, insect stings, latex, foods and even medications.

We can classify allergens based on how they come in contact with our body system.

A simple classification of allergens are:

  1. Inhaled allergens. These are the substances that are contained or carried in the air, which when inhaled, triggers allergic reaction. A common example of inhaled allergens is pollen.

Like I mentioned above, the allergens differs from one person to another. We have substances that we are uniquely allergic to due to various reason such as; genes, health or family records, environment, rate of adaptation, and type of medication we use amidst other factors. The degree at which our body react to allergens also differs, some people have spontaneous reactions almost immediately after they’re exposed to allergens. And others may have an insignificant reaction to the same amount to exposure.

Allergies can be mild or severe. Some mild allergies may result from reaction to food substances which may have simple symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes. Some can be severe and life-threatening like the Allergic Asthma. If you’ve been anywhere near an Asthma patient during an attack, then you’ll agree with me that allergies can be life-threatening.

People that suffer from allergic asthma may have different triggers, which includes; pollen, pet dander and dust. When an allergen is inhaled by someone who is sensitive to it. The person’s immune system reacts to it by secreting a substance in the body called; Immunoglobulin E. Excess secretion of the Immunoglobulin E in the body results in the swelling of the airway. Breathing is then made difficult due to the narrowed airway leading to an asthma attack.

Other symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing then begins to occur. In an extreme case, an emergency medical care is required to help the person breathe and recover.

You might not need an emergency medical care especially if you aren’t asthmatic, but you need an emergency intervention if your skin is suffering from allergies. This leads us to our main point of interest – skin allergy!

What is skin allergy?

Just like when an asthma patient inhales pet dander, and the whole body system goes hay-wire in the process of reacting to the foreign substance. So does our skin too.

When our body get in contact with allergens, the immune system of our body is triggered to produce antibodies. The antibodies senses and concludes that the allergens are dangerous to your body. Due to the information, physical symptoms begin to manifest as a result of the reaction of your immune system. When the symptoms are displayed on the skin or can be associated to the skin, then they are can be termed as skin allergies.

Skin allergies occur when a foreign substance comes in contact with your body. Most time the immune system senses the presence of the foreign substance and reacts. In most cases, there’s an over-reaction of the body immune system, and then it reflects on the skin – an itchy and bumpy skin.

Some common triggers for skins allergy are:

  1. Food
  2. Dust mites
  3. Cockroaches
  4. Latex
  5. Pet dander
  6. skin care products
  7. Dyes in clothes
  8. Poisonous plants (like the poison oak and poison ivy)
  9. Medications
  10. Insect bites
  11. Extreme temperature
  12. Metals (like gold and nickel)
  13. Fragrances from hair and skin products

Some allergic reaction are common while some are unique to individuals. You might have been in contact with some of these substances before without your skin reacting to it, but ones you develop an allergy to it, you may begin to experience serious reactions to them.

Skin allergy can be mild or severe depending on the cause and the factors surrounding the allergy. It can be a minor irritation like an itchy bump which may disappear even without a special treatment or a life-threatening conditions like anaphylaxis. Some of these allergies can be cured and corrected, while some can only be managed and supressed.

Generally our skin is allergic to pollutants and harmful substances in the environment. Though, the degree at which we react to the pollutants may vary with individuals, and based on underlining factors. Yet, the bottom line is that our skin and pollutants aren’t friends.

In that case, we know from default; from societal and psychological conclusions that we should stay clear of pollution and pollutants, if we want to stay healthy and have a glowing skin. But in other cases, where allergies aren’t triggered by the harmful pollutants in your environment, or the substances that makes your skin to act out seems to be different from others, what is the next stage of action?

Like we discussed earlier, the reaction of the immune system is triggered by allergens, which are perceived to be dangerous. But when the immune system start to react to substances that are not supposed to be dangerous, then there’s an abnormal reaction of your immune system to certain substances. Such is a unique case of allergy, you are probably allergic to the substances, and a confirmation test from a doctor can help tell what substance you’re allergic to. We are going to discuss more on that later.

Let’s now discuss some the allergies that affects and may deny your skin the glowing look. We’ll discuss 4 of these allergies and show how they affect the skin, the allergens that are associated to the reaction, unique symptoms and also suggest possible methods of handling them.

4 common types of skin allergies

  1. Atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a very common type of eczema that affects a large percentage of people, especially children. Adults also experience eczema. It is a type of skin condition that is triggered periodically. Atopic dermatitis can be linked to the inability of the skin to provide optimum protection against bacteria and pollutants. It can be caused by environmental factors, family history of hay fever, and mainly allergies.

Atopic dermatitis is commonly substituted for Eczema due to the fact that it is the most common case of eczema. Most of the other cases of eczema are not based allergies, but studies shows that they can trigger allergic reactions too.

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis includes

Atopic dermatitis is mainly associated with Asthma and hay fever especially in children. Skin infection can be associated to atopic dermatitis in some cases, especially for people that have their hands always wet and exposed to harsh chemicals. Atopic dermatitis is associated with food allergies, that is; how your body reacts to some food substances can be associated to the skin condition.

Contact dermatitis is triggered when your skin comes in direct contact with an allergen. Common examples of allergens which may trigger the reaction includes:

Contact dermatitis occurs as an itchy skin rash, and may take up to 24 to 48 hours after contact with allergens, before the allergic reaction occurs. Some of the allergens that triggers reaction when they come in contact to the skin aren’t typically harmful to the body. But due to some abnormality such as hypersensivity, there’s a reaction.

The symptoms of contact dermatitis are similar to the general eczema symptoms. Which includes:

The reaction can spread to unaffected parts of the body if it isn’t well taken care of. Contact dermatitis can be diagnosed by the doctor by conducting several tests. One of such tests is referred to as the patch test, where the doctor attaches patches of suspected allergen to your skin for a period of time and check if there’s a reaction. As promised, we will discuss more on the tests later in the article.

In treating contact dermatitis, prevention is the best technique. That is; avoiding contact with the allergen is a good way to prevent the reaction. When the skin becomes less exposed to the allergen, the immune system becomes less triggered to reaction. The use of calamine lotions especially when there is a severe allergy case will help reduce the itching.

In common case, the symptoms of the allergy disappears after 2 to 4 weeks even without treatment. But detecting the allergen and treatment by mediation can make the healing faster and also avoidance can help prevent future reactions.

Amidst other factors that causes hives, allergies triggers hives very fast. When an allergic reaction occur in the body. The immune system triggers the release of histamine, a protein in the body. Excess histamine in the body causes the small blood vessels (Capillaries) to begin to leak. Fluids from the leaking capillaries then begin to accumulate and cause swellings under the skin.

Hives are triggered by allergens such as

Hives can be easily diagnosed. There are no specific tests to determine if you have hives. But observations and study of your medical history and questions by your dermatologist can help determine if you have hives. Common skin tests by your doctor will also help to determine your allergens and how to avoid them to prevent future reactions.

Prevention is the best way to handle hives; by identifying and avoiding the allergens. Also, antihistamines are prescribed by doctors to help relieve the symptoms. Wearing loose-fitting clothes and staying in a cool environment can help to manage hives.

Angioedema sometimes is referred to as “big hives”. And sometimes, they occur along side with hives. It is caused by allergic reaction from allergens in the environment such as pollen, pet danger and insect sting. It can result from allergic reaction to certain food and medications.

Some other factors, such as underlying health factors can result in the development of angioedema. Angioedema can be as a result of genetic condition which is hereditary. A test from your doctor can help determine if your angioedema condition is as a result of an allergy and treatment as can be administered accordingly.

Angioedema occurs in areas of the body including:

The symptoms of angioedema are itching, burning sensation and uneasiness in the place where the swellings occur. In the case of food allergy. The symptoms may be a bit sever with symptoms that lasts for about 12 to 24 hours, 1 or 2 hours after eating the food containing the allergen. Some of the symptoms that can be associated to the case of food allergy includes:

The treatment of angioedema is dependent on the cause. Tests are carried out to determine if the angioedema is caused by an allergic reaction. Skin test can help to determine the allergic condition and what the allergen test is, also blood allergy test can be used to determine the allergic condition and treat them.

Skin test – how to identify your allergens

The purpose of allergy test is to study an allergic reaction, identify the allergen and prevent further reactions. This is mainly carried out by the doctor to determine what you are allergic to.

In common cases, skin allergies are tested for directly from the skin. Where the doctor applies allergen sample to the skin on comfortable area such as the arm or back. The reaction to the allergy which may occur in short period of time, like 15 minutes, or a longer period of time for like 2 days will help determine what type of allergy affects your skin.

The allergy test may be a series of multiple tests to confirm from various allergens, triggers reaction in your body and skin. The information recorded from the tests together with your medical records, genetic information and other related information will help your doctor to draw a conclusion to what the allergy is, the treatment plan, medications and what allergen is to be avoided.

Some common types of skin tests as described as follow:

  1. Scratch test. Just like the name implies, scratch test is performed by your doctor with the aid of a needle tip. The doctor goes through the process by sanitizing the area of the skin to be tested first, to prevent infection. Then makes a marking around the area, the allergen sample(usually in small amount) is then placed on the marked surface before the outer layer of the skin is scratched with a needle to allow the allergen sample in.

Then the skin area is being observed for symptoms of reactions (usually redness and swelling like a mosquito bite). The allergens responsible for the reaction can be determined and identified. It takes just few minutes (about 15-20 minutes) to carry out the test.

The doctor will need to choose a spot on your skin and cleanse it to prevent infection. Then with the aid of syringe, the allergen sample will be injected under the skin surface into the dermis.

After about 20 to 30 minutes the area of the skin is inspected for reaction, when there is a large enough redness and swelling in the tested area of the skin, the test is recorded positive. Then the doctor compares the result with other factors such as allergy history to draw final conclusions.

Intradermal test are mainly used for testing environmental and drug allergies, in other words, they might not be effective for food or latex allergies. In conducting intradermal tests, precautions needs to be put in place, because they can show false allergic reaction and may trigger allergic reaction in the entire body.

Unlike the scratch and intradermal test, the patch test takes a longer period of time before it is concluded and results are determined. Scratch and intradermal tests takes about 20-30 minutes to observe reactions and make conclusions. But for the patch test, it takes up to 48 hours after the patch is attached to your skin to determine results. It is involves mainly a 2-time visit appointment to your doctor, first to attach the patch containing the allergen to your skin. And secondly, to observe reactions after you might have worn the patch for about 48 hours.

The patch test takes a longer period of time because the allergen is applied to the surface of your skin (epidermis) and not the dermis. On your second visit to your doctor. If your skin turns red and itches, with further observation, your doctor may confirm that you are allergic to one of the allergen you were exposed to.

The results for the tests are determined mainly from the reaction of the skin after the allergen have been introduced to it. In the case of the scratch and intradermal test, you’ll know the result of the test at your first visit to the doctor, but the patch test takes few days before the result are known. The patch test is sometimes referred to as the T.R.U.E test, it is mainly regarded as the most effective type of skin test.

After the skin tests there might be slight reactions in your skin, like itching and small bumps which may occur few hours of days after the test, and in some cases it may persist for few days. In such situations, applying a mild topical steroid cream to the skin can help clear off the reactions and stop them. But in most cases, the symptoms clears off few hours or days later, without any applied effort.

In rare instances, there may be a serious allergic reaction, which may be severe and life threatening. That is why it is advisable you take the skin test in a well-equipped environment with the presence of a professional doctor or allergist, to handle the severe allergy reaction in case there is one.

When you are prone to having an emergency conditions in the process of conducting a skin test, you doctor may have to recommend a different approach for determining your skin allergies. For safety and precautions, your doctor or allergist may ask some important question to determine if you are qualified to take the skin test or otherwise.

Some of those questions are:

The answers you provide to these set questions will help your doctor determine if you are qualified for the skin test.

In cases where the answers to the above questions are positive, your doctor or allergist may have to suggest another form of test to prevent the risks associated to the skin test.

Other forms of test that can be can be conducted to replace the skin test in testing for your allergies includes:

  1. Blood tests. Blood tests are also referred to as RAST test. Your blood sample is collected and the taken into the laboratory. The objective of the blood test is to detect the specific Immunoglobin E antibodies that responds to certain allergens. With the presence of certain Immunoglobin E antibodies in the blood sample, certain allergies can be deduced.

The skin test is sometimes complimented with the blood test to get accurate results.

Although skin test is considered to be speedier, as results are gotten in few hours contradictory to the blood test which may take up to 2 weeks before results are gotten. The blood test is also considered to be more accurate than the skin test as observations may be a bit difficult to note on darker skin for example. Skin tests may also be affected by medications while the blood test isn’t. Blood test is expensive than skin test, therefore it is rarely considered except in special cases.

At the appointment with your doctor, you’ll be instructed to start the test by eating a small quantity from the food. Close observation is then made to monitor and discover any reaction. If there’s no reaction, you’ll have to continue by eating an increasing quantity of the suspected food at intervals (about 15 to 30 minutes) until symptoms are noticed or you have eaten a meal-sized quantity. After this, evaluations and conclusions are carried out by your doctor to determine the results.

The test for skin allergies are mild and not exhausting. In the skin test, the irritation are very mild and vanish in few hours after the test. But in cases where there is a whole body reaction to the tests, with symptoms that are alarming, you should seek the help of your doctor immediately. Alarming symptoms after tests are:

These might be symptoms of a life-threatening condition such as anaphylaxis. You should therefore seek medical help immediately if these symptoms are discovered.

The purpose of the tests is to determine your allergies and the allergens responsible for the reaction. This will help your allergist to devise a means of treatment and how to manage the allergy.

The best way to avoid skin allergy is to stay away from the allergen identified by your skin test. And in situation when your skin comes in contact with an allergen, you should wash thoroughly with a mild soap and water to eliminate the allergen particles and prevent a reaction.

From the result of your skin test, your doctor can help recommend means by which you can treat and mange your allergies effectively to prevent future reaction that may cost you your glowing look. The treatments plan may include various methods, but if you follow suit, they’ll help reduce the risks of an allergic reaction or even eliminate them.

Treatments for skin allergy

Some of the ways skin allergies can be treated includes:

  1. Medications. Your doctor may have to prescribe oral antihistamines such as hydroxyzine and diphenhydramine to help relief the itching. Proper care and precautions needs to be taken, to prevent the wrong use of medications which may result in negative effects such as kidney condition. You should talk to your doctor, stick to the prescription and also keep up for monitoring.

You’ll need to discover the type of food substance that you’re are allergic (which can be known from a food test) and stay away from it.

Foods that can help minimize reactions and reduce the severity of symptoms includes:

Other useful tips that you can apply at home for handling skin allergies includes:

In most cases, the allergy reaction and symptoms clear up in few weeks with the right treatment. It is also necessary to understand that even after treatment, exposure to the allergens responsible for the reaction may cause the allergic reaction to reoccur. Therefore, you should take necessary precautions and avoid coming in contact with the allergens.

If you notice any form unusualness during the treatment process, you should report to your doctor immediately. Symptoms that may indicate severe cases should also be reported immediately. Some of these symptoms are as follow.

These symptoms require calling for emergency help without hesitation. They may be signs of a life-threatening condition. The goal is to own and maintain a glowing skin. When you don’t give chances to the effect of allergy on your skin, together with essential skin care, you’ll in no time begin to flaunt your spotless skin and walk through the streets gracefully.

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