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Skin allergies, also known as dermatitis, are characterized by an inflammation of affected areas of the skin. These inflamed areas can become intensely itchy, sore, red, scaly, covered in tiny water blisters and develop painful cracks. Allergies commonly affect the hands, arms, face, legs and feet because these areas come into contact with an irritant or allergen resulting in the dermatitis.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
Approximately 25% of the UK population has been affected by allergies at some point of their lives making it a very common condition seen at the London Dermatology Clinic. Those with asthma, eczema and hay fever are at higher risk for developing allergies of any kind including dermatitis. The tendency to have allergies runs in families although not the specific allergen itself.
Dermatitis can be caused by either irritants or allergens. Irritants are common with people whose work requires that their hands be wet often such as nurses and dishwashers. Substances such as solvents, detergents and soaps can strip the natural oil off of the skin and leave it unprotected. Allergens refer to environmental substances that a person’s immune system reacts to. Some examples of allergens include perfumes, cosmetics, rubber and lotions.
A visit to a dermatologist will usually result in trying to identify the cause of the allergy or dermatitis. Allergy testing or patch testing may be done at a skin clinic to determine what exactly is causing the reaction. Patches containing a number of different substances are placed on the back and then examined 48 and 96 hours later to check for reactions. The London Dermatology Clinic will advise patients to reduce or completely avoid contact with the substance. If complete avoidance is not possible, a variety of different topical steroid creams, moisturisers and emollients may be recommended. Severe cases may be advised to try other options such as steroid tablets.
If you are suffering from itchy skin and dermatitis is suspected, visit a trained dermatologist at the London Dermatology Clinic as soon as possible to begin determining what treatment is most appropriate for your individual circumstances. Dermatologists have the experience and knowledge to help put an end to these itchy flare-ups that can be extremely troubling for sufferers.
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