In the United States, over 50 million people experience allergies each year. For this reason, allergies have become the sixth leading cause of chronic illnesses in the US.
Respiratory allergies, such as hay fever, remain the most common type of allergy. However, a study found that 41.4% of adults with allergies reported having skin allergies.
Because of their prevalence, we decided to come up with this guide on the most common skin allergies. Read on to learn about them, their symptoms, and how plant-based skin care products can help.
What Is a Skin Allergy?
A skin allergy is an immune system response to an irritant or “allergen.” Allergens, in turn, are substances that the immune system believes to be harmful. They’re often not that dangerous for most people, but they can be to those with allergies. In people with skin allergies, allergens can cause skin itchiness, redness, and rashes. The skin may also develop scaly patches, welts, blisters, and bumps.
There are about 3,700 known contact allergens that can trigger skin allergies. Metals, such as nickel and cobalt, can result in skin reactions. The same goes for ingredients in many perfumes and even skin care products.
A Rundown of the Most Common Skin Allergies
Eczema and psoriasis are some of the most common skin allergies. They affect not only adults but millions of children too. Moreover, they, as well as other allergies of the skin, can also lead to more serious skin disorders.
Eczema is a condition in which patches of skin become swollen, dry, red, itchy, and cracked. Some forms of the condition can also result in the development of blisters. Researchers say that about 31.6 million people in the US have some form of this skin condition.
Atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis are two of the most common forms of eczema.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) affects an estimated 16.5 million adults in the US. It’s a long-term or chronic condition that makes the skin red, itchy, and dry.
The term “atopic” means that it’s allergic in nature. In many cases, having AD during childhood indicates that one may develop hay fever or asthma later on.
Allergic eczema, also often called contact dermatitis, causes an itchy skin rash. It occurs when your skin gets exposed to an allergen, such as metal, fabrics, or certain substances.
Allergic eczema may also cause a burning or painful sensation in the affected area. The bumps may also leak fluids or form crusts on them. Left untreated, the skin may thicken or develop scaly or rough patches.
In many people, allergic eczema can also cause red or brownish-gray patches of skin. These discolorations often occur on the neck, upper chest, hands, wrists, and feet. They may even show up inside the bend of your elbows or knees.
Also known as “giant hives,” angioedema is often a result of allergic reactions. In many cases, it can occur when you inhale pollen or pet dander. It may also be due to medication, food, or insect bite allergies.
The most common symptom of angioedema is swelling of the skin around the eyes. This usually occurs alongside red rash just right beneath the skin surface. In some cases, the inflammation can also occur around the lips or in the hands or feet.
Diaper rash can occur not only in babies but adults too. It’s most common in babies, but adults who wear diapers and pads can also develop it.
A diaper rash can be an allergic reaction to the materials used in the underwear. The dyes used in diapers or pads, for instance, can be a form of allergen. Some products may also have perfumes or scents that can also cause skin reactions.
Polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) is a type of sun allergy that affects up to 20% of people in the US. It’s a form of sensitivity to sunlight. In people with PMLE, exposure to the sun’s rays can trigger rashes to develop on their skin.
The rash can either be slightly swollen or raised patches of red skin. In others, the reaction can occur as tiny red bumps that can sometimes be itchy, too.
Hives, also known as “urticaria,” are bright red bumps or welts that can appear anywhere on the skin. Most people only have it for less than six weeks (acute urticaria). Acute urticaria is usually a result of an allergic reaction, but it can also be due to an infection.
If you have hives that last for more than six weeks, what you have is likely chronic urticaria. Either way, be sure to ring up your doctor, especially if the welts are severe.
What About Psoriasis?
Psoriasis isn’t as common as eczema, but around 8 million people in the US still have it. Also, unlike allergy-related eczema, psoriasis isn’t an allergic reaction. However, it still has something to do with your immune system.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells.
As a result, your skin may develop red patches of skin layered with thick, silvery scales. Your skin may also become very dry, which, in turn, can make it prone to cracks that bleed or itch. Sometimes, the affected area can feel sore or as if it’s burning.
While it may not be a skin allergy, some products can still exacerbate psoriasis. These include skin care products that contain alcohol, artificial fragrances, and sulfates. In this way, these “ingredients” can act similarly to allergens.
How Natural, Plant-Based Skin Care Products Can Help
Artificial fragrances, dyes, alcohol, and sulfates can trigger skin allergies or worsen psoriasis. That’s why you might want to avoid using products that contain these ingredients. Fortunately, some of the best skin care products use only plant-based materials. Here are a few of the top benefits of natural skin care products.
No Artificials Anything
Plant-based skin care products don’t contain artificial ingredients often found in most cosmetics. They don’t use artificial scents, artificial dyes, or artificial preservatives. They also don’t come with sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or silicones.
Instead, they use plant-based ingredients like CBD and hemp seed oil. They do have fragrances, but these come from plant-based essential oils.
Since they don’t use artificial preservatives, they have a shorter shelf life, though. Still, they’re good for up to six months. That’s more than enough time to use them up.
Plant-Based Moisturizers to Help With Dry, Scaly Skin
As mentioned above, the two most common types of eczema can cause dryness. While using lotions and creams can help, many of these products use alcohol too. The alcohol content helps “aerate” them to make them feel lighter and smoother. However, many types of alcohol can cause more skin dryness. So, using such products may make your skin allergy symptoms worse.
Natural skin care products are made with ingredients derived from nature such as cacao butter and other plants. Cacao Butter can also help boost the skin’s elasticity and retain moisture within the skin.
Vegan-Based Alternatives to Avoid Allergic Reactions
PETA lists at least eight animal-derived, allergenic ingredients in cosmetics.
Albumen, for instance, is a coagulating agent derived from egg whites. Animal fats and oils, used as an emulsifier in cosmetics, can also be very allergenic. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to collagen derived from animals. With that said, if you’re sensitive or allergic to any of these, you might want to switch to vegan skin care. Coconut oil or Hemp seed oil, for instance, can be a better alternative to animal fats.
Also, note that some cosmetics products use bee pollen for its amino acid content. However, it can also trigger allergic reactions for some people. The great news is that cane sugar boasts 23 amino acids. As such, it can be a substitute.
Keep Skin Allergies at Bay With Plant-Based Skin Care Alternatives
There you have it, your ultimate guide on common skin allergies and their usual triggers. Now that you know, it’s best to determine what your allergens are. It’s also a great time to take a closer look at your skin care products; they may be doing more harm than good.
If you’re ready to go plant-based check out Berde skin care products.