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Allergic contact eczema

Allergic contact eczema

Allergic contact eczema is caused by an inherited disorder associated with an impaired skin barrier signalling. Due to this, the skin reacts to various stimuli extensively. It is a systemic disease. When in contact with allergen, the whole immune system reacts, not only the skin. Therefore, unlike the common hypersensitivity, it can manifest itself also in fatal suffocating, fevers or convulsions.

The symptoms of allergic contact eczema are similar to other eczemas. A correct diagnosis can be revealed via skin tests only. These can reveal whether a person is allergic or just hypersensitive and identifies the allergens one should avoid. People are mainly allergic to 1–2 allergens, allergy to 5 and more allergens is very rare.

In case of contact, the issue occurs in 30 minutes to 48 hours, exceptionally in 72 hours aftew the contact with allergen. The manifestation of the acute form comprises burning red and itchy skin, commonly with areas of hard pimples under the skin that are “growing” to the surface of the skin. Very often, these are blisters that tend to crack, dry out, peel off and create crusts on the surface of the skin that are prone to deep crack and bleed. The allergic contact eczema can be accompanied with fever, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, swellings. The rash can flare up anywhere on the body, not only on the contact area.

The most common allergens are salts of nickel and chromium metals that are present in bijouterie, watches, metal buttons and coins. Common allergens are in water, laundry and cleaning products. The allergic reaction can cause a sole molecule of the allergen, therefore, avoiding it is very difficult.

Allergic contact eczema treatment

The first prerequisite of a successful treatment is the elimination of the contact with allergen. The barrier creams and protective equipment should be used. The common mistake is washing the allergic skin too often. Soaps and cleaning pastes tend to degrease the skin and change its natural pH. Scrubbing with a towel causes micro-cracks in the weakened skin and this makes the skin much more prone to reactions. Preventive treatment of dry and calloused skin should utilize fragrance-free oil-based moisturizing creams or a barrier cream Dermaguard that moisturizes and protects sensitive skin for up to 6 hours.

An acute manifestation of the disease requires often only a local treatment with corticosteroids in the form of sprays, foams, ointments, or solutions. Sometimes, the product has to contain corticosteroids as well as antibiotics.

A home remedy of the eczema symptoms is possible only to a limited extent. Chronic manifestations, such as dry, reddened and itchy skin, can be treated with ointments containing salicylic acid, zinc, urea, tar, etc. If the itching is severe, non-prescription antihistamines available over the counter in pharmacies can be used. The corticosteroids are applied on the chronic symptoms only rarely. If there are fluid-filled blisters under the skin, the zinc-based cream from pharmacy can be applied. The affected areas can be soaked in the bath made from highly diluted solution of potassium permanganate with a light pink color or in the decoction of yarrow. Do not use the chamomile, it is a strong allergen, and a weakened skin can react to it. If the pimples did not disappear but start cracking instead, and the skin is peeling and there are oozing deposits forming on the surface, you can try to calm the skin in the black tea bath. After the bath, the deposit shall be smeared with black ichtoxyl ointment purchased in the pharmacy. It is better to see a dermatologist in this phase.


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