What are skin allergies?

Allergies, by definition, are a reaction to the body seeing something as "foreign." Skin allergies symptoms include itchy, dry, red skin called eczema. Hives and welts are itchy, red raised lumps and bumps. Some people experience blisters. These can be caused by substances that directly irritate the skin or by ingestion of substances that affect the whole body.

The skin is the body's largest organ, and normally it helps keep "good stuff" like nutrients and water in, and keeps "bad stuff" like bacteria out. Sometimes, however, certain substances may cause an abnormal immune response in the skin, either through physical contact or as a result of ingesting something. This kind of reaction is known as skin allergies, which include any kind of reaction to something that results in a rash, hives, blisters, or other skin irritations. Skin allergies are affected by Langerhans' cells, which are special cells found in the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) that are part of the skin's immune system. Normally, these cells help defend the body against infection, but sometimes they can be part of the development of skin allergies. The classification of "skin allergies" may include dermatitis (eczema), lichen planus, and various types of rashes or hives.

Continue Learning about Allergies



About one out of five Americans suffers from allergies. An allergy is an exaggerated response from the immune system to a substance such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold. Other common triggers include foods such as peanuts and ...

milk; insect bites; and certain ingredients in cosmetics and jewelry. Allergies can cause anything from rashes and hives to itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and wheezing.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.