Allergic reactions on the skin can be extremely uncomfortable and in severe cases, painful. Skin allergies tend to show their symptoms once an allergen has either come in contact with the skin. While symptoms can vary in intensity and while some people may experience only a fraction of potential symptoms, others can experience each one associated with a skin allergic reaction.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Redness over the affected area
- Itchiness in the affected which can spread to surrounding areas of the skin if scratching occurs
- Hives or raised sections that are red in color until the middle, which is paler then the rest
- Painful burning sensations in the affected area
- Open and exposed areas after scratching that ooze fluid (blood and/or pus)
There are medical options to treat an allergic reaction on the skin but they must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional; either a general practitioner or through a visit to the emergency department at the local hospital. These treatments will provide relief quicker and more effectively but they carry a range of side effects that range from weight gain to mood swings to elevated blood pressure to insomnia.
Some medical professionals might prescribe the following for a skin-based allergic reaction:
Hydrocortisone cream – this topical cream or ointment will soothe the skin and reduce swelling through the use of a steroid. Could potentially thin the layers of the skin so small amounts is recommended no more than twice a day.
Corticosteroids – these are tablets that will be taken daily through oral means and will relieve the skin of redness, itchiness, and swelling. They are generally used in more severe cases such as poison ivy as they can cause elevated blood pressure and insomnia or cataracts.
Antibiotics – they can be in the form of a cream or ointment along with tablets that is primarily used when the skin has broken open to show exposed layers as there is an increase in the chance of infection.
If a medicinal option isn’t the right choice or the case of the skin allergy is not severe enough to warrant a trip to the doctor; there are natural ways to treat a skin allergy.
Oatmeal bath or paste
Oatmeal has long been used as an effective and soothing way to manage skin itch and redness. The antioxidant properties in oatmeal counter the elevated levels of histamines that cause hives and rashes. Oatmeal also contains anti-inflammatory properties that will soothe the skin while reducing swelling, drawing the itch out of the affected area.
- To make an effective oatmeal bath or paste, powdered oatmeal is needed. Powdered oatmeal can be either purchased or made at home using oats that are grounded into a finer layer.
- For an oatmeal bath, mix one cup of powdered oatmeal into lukewarm water and submerge fully in the water for approximately thirty minutes. Caution is advised when it comes to the temperature of the water as higher temperatures can intensify swelling and redness as the skin absorbs the heat.
- You can rinse off finishing your bath with a cool shower to remove any residue from the skin and prevent it from getting into the bedsheets.
- For an oatmeal paste, empty one-quarter of a cup of powdered oatmeal into a mixing bowl and gradually add a teaspoon of filtered or distilled water until the mixture becomes thick. Spread the mixture liberally over the affected area and cover with a bandage or clean cloth to hold in place. Leave the paste on the affected area for approximately thirty minutes and rinse well with cool water.
- After the arm is rinsed, gently pat the area dry and if desired, cover with a soothing moisturizer that doesn’t contain fragrance or dyes.
If the skin allergy is burning and redness, with a heat that can be felt through the skin, a cold compress can relieve the pain. Cold compresses can be purchased at a drug store or pharmacy in the first aid section but they can also be made at home.
One way to make a cold compress is to place ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a clean cloth. Leave the cold compress on the affected area until the ice is melted or the skin is cold to the touch.
A cold compress can also be made by dampening a clean cloth with water and placing it in the freezer until cold. Apply to the skin until relief is felt or the cloth is room temperature.
Baking soda paste
Baking soda contains anti-inflammatory properties when used correctly as a paste and can provide relief from itching along with redness associated with a skin allergy. Baking soda is also extremely effective when applied to an oozing skin rash as it will dry up the skin affected.
To make a baking soda paste, combine one part baking soda to two parts water until a thick mixture is formed. Spread a moderate layer of this paste on the area affected and leave for approximately thirty minutes. Take caution not to leave the baking soda paste on the skin for too long as it can dry out the skin surrounding the affected area, creating more issues to contend with.
Rinse off the baking soda paste with cool water and gently pat dry with a clean cloth. Use a natural moisturizer like coconut oil or an oatmeal based cream such as Aveeno to retain good moisture in the skin.
If the person who is suffering from a skin allergy is not a fan of medication prescribed by a doctor, then natural home remedies can provide relief from the redness, burning and itching that covers the skin.
In severe cases of skin allergic reactions or if the skin is exposed and oozing, a visit to a medical professional is definitely in order. If the skin is opened and exposed, this creates a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that could cause an infection.
Over the counter medication can also be beneficial for those suffering from a skin allergy. Allergy medication, such as Benadryl, comes in both cream and tablet forms. Always follow the instructions located on the packaging and read the informational leaflet included in the package for usage information.