Woman with itchy skin, which could be an allergy

Skin deep

When it comes to allergies, many of us think of sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes. But skin allergies are just as common — and just as itchy!

Eczema is the focus of this year’s World Allergy Week, from April 22-28. This condition is characterized by dry, itchy skin.

Medical Group of the Carolinas allergist Robin Go, MD, shares more information on the condition:

What are the most common forms of skin allergies?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, occurs quite frequently in childhood. This may occur with food allergies as well. Children usually outgrow these allergies, but they may lead to respiratory allergies, such as allergic rhinitis and asthma – the so-called “atopic march.”

What causes eczema and how is it treated?

Eczema is caused by a breakdown of the skin barrier, which leads to inflammation. The primary treatments are to moisturize the skin and treat with anti-inflammatory agents, such as a topical corticosteroid, and non-steroidal drugs such as calcineurin inhibitors (Elidel, Protopic), PDE4 inhibitor (Eucrisa), and injectable medication such as Dupixent for more difficult-to-treat cases.

What is the difference between eczema and contact dermatitis?

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when an outside substance damages the outer layer of skin. Irritants could be bleach, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides and other similar chemicals.

Allergic contact dermatitis is a rash or skin irritation caused by direct exposure to an allergen. These allergens can include nickel, medications, personal care products or even poison ivy. It usually only affects the area that came into contact with the allergen.

Make an appointment with Dr. Go at Medical Group of the Carolinas—Medical Affiliates—Allergy if you are concerned that you may have developed a skin allergy.