How are skin allergies different from other allergic reactions?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Skin allergies are similar to any other allergies in that they are caused by an overreaction of the immune system. Skin allergies are more localized than other kinds of allergies, though, because they usually only affect small areas of the skin and don't spread throughout the body. Obviously, the symptoms of skin allergies don't include the runny nose and itchy eyes that are typical of other kinds of allergies. Most of the time, skin allergies can't be life-threatening like some other allergies can be. Another difference is related to treatment: Unlike other types of allergies, skin allergies can't be effectively treated with immunotherapy, or "allergy shots," which involving injecting small amounts of the allergen into the person to build up immunity to the substance.

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