Allergic reactions of the skin are very common. Everyone has probably had some type of allergic skin reaction in their lifetime. Most are mild and go away on their own. However, some can be chronic needing the help of a dermatologist. Allergic reactions often present with red, itchy patches. They can be flat but are often raised—especially if the area was scratched. Diffuse, small bumps may be present.
The three major types of allergic skin reactions are eczema, contact dermatitis and hives/angioedema.
Eczema can be caused by dry, cracking skin from environmental exposure or a genetic disruption in the barrier mechanism of the skin.
Contact dermatitis results from direct contact to an irritant substance. Some common examples are soaps and plants. Lastly, hives and angioedema cause widespread swelling of the skin on the body and face, respectively.
Angioedema tends to involve deeper layers of the tissue of the face, hands and feet and can result in so much swelling that the eyes can be swollen shut or a swollen tongue can impede the airway. Depending on the location, severity, and chronicity, treatment consists of anti-histamines, topical and oral steroids, as well as avoidance of offending agents.
Hives, medically known as urticaria, is a skin reaction driven by the immune system in response to a specific stimulus. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of swollen bumps or patches on the body or face that is often widespread and can be associated with itching or a burning sensation.
There are many reasons that cause the immune system to mount this response including allergies, autoimmune, cold temperatures, atopic dermatitis, medications, sustained pressure and solar (sun) exposure. Anti-histamines are used to calm the reaction however, elimination/avoidance of the source is the only way to prevent re-occurrences.
From Our Patients
Mom and I wanted to say MAHALO for all you did for us today!!!
When I called this morning to make an appointment for Mom, I was thrilled when Danielle said there was an opening at 11:45am. We felt a sense of relief since she has been in pain for a while. It was comforting to know there is no pressure sore or something skin related going on.
Your immediate glance to my arm was heartwarming. You cared so much to interrupt Mom’s appointment to look at my lesion. Taking the time to do the biopsy and explaining the next steps was the absolute best. It made me stop worrying about the unknown and know I’m taking steps in the right direction with your guidance.
Patient Care Coordinator Gia was also helpful and kind to both of us today – MAHALO Gia!!!
Dr. Scheel – your warm and friendly manner, combined with your professional expertise is such a gift. You exude genuine caring, confidence and competence. We feel so fortunate you are here in Kona.
THANK YOU so much for everything you did for us today !!!
While Melasma can be an extremely difficult skin condition to treat and can reoccur at any time – one that I may have to battle with for the rest of my life – I now feel that I have learned enough from Dr. Scheel to not let it get out of control as I allowed it to before.
Thank you Dr. Monica Scheel for taking the time to care and making me feel beautiful again from the inside-out. And thank you for helping me to believe that there is hope for Melasma.