How Allergies Affect Your Skin

Man scratching at allergic reaction How Allergies Affect Your Skin

The body’s reaction to allergens manifests in many ways, from sniffles to full-blown, life-threatening reactions. Your skin isn’t exempt from allergens, so let’s dig into how allergies affect your skin.

What Allergies Do to Your Skin

Explaining Allergies and Allergens

Allergens are any substances that can cause an allergic reaction in a person. Common allergens that impact the skin include “poison” plants, like poison ivy, oak, and sumac, latex, metals like nickel, and certain fragrances, soaps, or cosmetic products. For some people, certain food allergies may also trigger rashes. Peanut or shellfish allergies can produce a rash or hives after the allergen is ingested. With food allergies especially, a rash will usually appear near the mouth. In rare cases, skin contact with peanuts or shellfish could be enough to trigger a rash. In some cases, seasonal allergies like hay fever can actually cause rashes as well. Rashes are by far not the most common reaction for pollen allergies, but in some they’re possible. So if you’ve got sniffles and a rash this spring, you may be able to blame the warm up.

Common Rashes

Rashes are a short-term skin condition that is usually caused by contact with an allergen. Rashes usually appear as red, splotchy, raised patches of skin on one or more parts of the body. A rash itself is not always a standalone condition, meaning other health problems can lead to a rash. In other instances, a rash may be independent of anything else. The cause of many rashes is never determined because they don’t last long and are almost never serious. Serious rashes are rashes that recur or that appear all over the body. Other accompanying rash symptoms that should be taken seriously include fever, blistering, breaking skin, or extreme pain. Rashes are generally itchy and may feel tingly, but if discomfort is extreme, then you should contact a doctor immediately.


As mentioned, a rash is usually a symptom of a larger condition, even if they come and go quickly and with little irritation. Recurring rashes may indicate that you have eczema, a common but sometimes tricky skin condition to navigate. There are more than five different kinds of eczema, with contact dermatitis being the most common form. Contact dermatitis describes a rash that forms as a result of contact with an allergen. There are thousands upon thousands of possible allergens that can cause contact dermatitis, and they are not all what you’d expect. Besides the common ones mentioned above, they include things like milk, wheat, certain synthetic fabrics, smoke, or even water. Water is a rare allergen, but it can cause contact dermatitis in some people, especially those who work with water frequently. Your own sweat can also trigger rashes that can form slightly different skin patches. Sweat triggered rashes are usually categorized as dyshidrotic eczema, which develops on the hands and feet. This condition can also be caused by certain metals and other, more common allergens. These rashes appear as patches of small, extremely itchy blisters.

Regardless of what allergen is responsible for your rash, you’re going to want to figure out how to prevent it from happening again. Learn your triggers by paying attention to what happens before you develop a rash. If you need help with a new or chronic rash, call the skincare experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates today.

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