Knowing Your Enemy is the Best Way to Fight Skin Allergies

My family is known as the mysterious rash family around here, because one of us seems to always be breaking in some sort of unidentified rash to some sort of unidentified allergen. We’ve seen everything from general hives to the infamous pinprick rash to one isolated to inner thighs (on both of my daughters at the same time) to a bizarre eye swelling my husband gets on the whites of his eyes.

My best friend says we should have all bought stock in Benadryl because my family keeps the company in business. It’s in my car, in my purse, in two or three different places upstairs and in the kitchen.

So why all these skin allergies and where do they come from? What is the cause? For some we can figure it out, once it was sunscreen, once it was not washing the “glitter jeans” before wearing them, once it was the new doge bed. The eye allergy? We’re still trying to figure that one out.

I know, I know, they all say look back on what you’ve eaten and been around for the last 48 hours. Easier said than done. An allergen can take that long to manifest so it can be long gone before any symptoms even appear. We’ve thought about laundry detergent, new clothes, restaurants, friend’s houses, food, dry cleaners. Like I said, some of the rash mysteries have been solved, some are still a cold case.

What we’ve learned most over the years of rashes is best how to treat. Sure we’d like to avoid (and the occurrences have lessened), but treatment is important, too. We keep the Benadryl on hand, of course; my daughter has an epipen. We also use lots of lotion to keep skin healthy, which helps a lot with its overall well being. We’ve switched to allergen free detergent and use more environmentally safe house hold cleaners and soaps.

Rashes and allergic reactions can develop even after a product has been in use for a long time. That can be due to a change in body chemistry (common in women after having children or going through menopause) or a minor change in the product ingredients. Also some parts of the body are more susceptible, like the skin on the face or inner thighs; the skin of the hands in thicker and not so sensitive.

It can sometimes take a sleuth to determine the origin of the allergen, but it is important to attempt to figure it out and try to avoid it in the future if at all possible. Treatment is just as important, whether it is minor enough to treat with OTC medication or seek a prescription or alternative treatment. One more key, know your body. While you might be used to certain skin conditions, others may surprise you. If a rash is new or mysterious, take it seriously.

– Heather Legg

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