What Are the Different Types of Allergic Skin Reactions?

Some laundry detergents can cause skin reactions.
Certain allergens can cause dermatitis, which manifests as red, itchy, and dry skin.
Hives typically stem from an allergic reaction.
Anti-itch cream can be applied to alleviate the symptoms of hives.
A contact rash appears shortly after exposure to offensive chemicals, plant oils or insect stings.
Allergic skin reactions can result in an itching sensation.
Topical steroid creams can be used to treat itching caused by allergies and eczema.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Allergic skin reactions can vary based on the severity of the allergy and the source. Typically allergic reactions present themselves as rashes, hives or blisters, swelling, and raw areas of skin. Various allergens can cause an allergic skin reaction, ranging from plants like poison ivy to food allergies.

The most common allergic skin reactions generally involve some type of skin rash. Rashes generally involve red patches on the skin which may be splotchy, patchy or solid. The redness is often accompanied by itching and sometimes burning depending on the individual and the source of the allergy. If no swelling is present along with the rash, it may be mild enough to treat at home with an anti-itch cream or over the counter allergy medication. If the source of the rash is a common allergen or skin irritant — such as poison ivy — cleaning the area and thoroughly washing any clothing that has come in contact with the rash is needed to prevent reinfection.

Although redness occurs with most allergic skin reactions, some more severe allergies are also accompanied by swelling, oozing, blisters, hives, and sometimes even bleeding if the skin has become very irritated. In many cases, skin irritation — such as hives — will go away on its own once the source of the allergy has been removed. If symptoms do persist for long periods of time with no improvement, a doctor should be contacted.


Common allergens which cause allergic skin reactions include scented soaps and shampoos, laundry detergents, and other perfumed items that come in contact with the skin. If an allergic reaction seems to be confined to the skin, meaning there are no other symptoms like shortness of breath or dizziness, then the first step in recovery is finding the source of the irritation. Sufferers should remove one item from their daily routine at a time and take note on the condition of their skin reactions. If the rash and irritation disappear after something specific has been removed, this is likely the cause of the reaction. Once everything has been ruled out, a visit to the doctor may be in order if irritation persists.

Severe food allergies can also sometimes result in allergic skin reactions. Those who suffer from extreme peanut or shellfish allergies have been known to break out in hives and welts simply from being in the same room with the offending food. If this is the cause for allergic skin reactions, then the food or substance should be removed before any attempts at healing skin irritation are made. If other, more severe, symptoms also occur, it should be treated as a medical emergency and assistance should be sought immediately.


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