Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Leann Poston, M.D.
Leann Poston, M.D. earned her medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed an MBA from Raj Soin College of Business, focusing on healthcare. She is a full-time medical communication writer and educator.
April 26, 2021
Allergic eczema is a skin rash that develops when you come into contact with an allergen that irritates your skin. Some other common names for allergic eczema include:
If you are looking for professional help to diagnose or treat eczema, our partners at PlushCare are a great option. PlushCare, a top telehealth company, was recently named one of the top startups of 2020 by Fobes, and provides quality care online. Make an appointment here with a PlushCare doctor.
Allergic eczema (or contact dermatitis) is just one form of eczema. There are seven types. The other six types include:
Atopic dermatitis affects approximately 9.6 million U.S. children under age 18 and 30 percent rate their disease as moderate to severe. Approximately 16.5 million adults have atopic dermatitis. Nearly 40 percent rate it has moderate to severe in intensity.
Allergic eczema is different from the other six kinds of eczema because it is not a genetic skin condition that can run in families. Pretty much anyone with allergies can develop an eczema allergy rash.
Allergic eczema also needs an allergen to be triggered. It won’t flare up with stress or other immune system related complications. You don’t necessarily “have” eczema if you experience an allergic rash–all you need to do is recover from your current rash and then avoid the irritant that caused it. It won’t be a chronic condition like other types of eczema are.
Yes, you can have an allergic eczema rash at the same time that you’re having atopic eczema rashes flare-up, or any other kind of eczema.
For example, you could have a rash due to stress and sun exposure triggers while also having an allergic reaction to a bad skincare product that doesn’t agree with your skin.
Symptoms of any type of eczema usually include:
Some common irritants and allergens for the skin include the following:
An allergic eczema reaction in the form of contact dermatitis can take on different forms. Some common symptoms include blistered skin, cracking due to dryness, swelling, tight or stiff skin, open sores, or ulcerations. Very often, this condition is uncomfortable and itchy, However, it is typically not long-term.
Contact dermatitis will typically go away on its own if you simply avoid whatever caused your rash. In some cases, your job may require contact with harsh substances (for instance, a hairdresser or janitor, or a healthcare worker who must wash and disinfect their hands frequently throughout the day).
In these cases, some preventative measures you can take include:
For excessive itching, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream may be used to control the itch.
If necessary, an antihistamine can be used to cut down on the allergic response. Contact dermatitis will typically go away if care is taken but do see a doctor if the rash is close to the eyes or mouth or doesn’t go away with treatment. They will also be able to prescribe a stronger steroid cream if the itch becomes unbearable.
You can get online treatment and prescriptions through our partner, PlushCare. They are a telehealth service that offers appointments with board-certified doctors from the comfort of your own home via phone calls or video conferences. Make an appointment with PlushCare here.
No, treatment for atopic dermatitis and contact is similar in that in both cases the goal is to reduce inflammation and itching and prevent future breakouts. The only difference is prevention. Atopic eczema can have long remission periods (up to several years) and occasional flare-ups. According to the National Eczema, treating non-allergic eczema can be hard. “Eczema can be an unpredictable disease, and there is much still to learn about it. Having an eczema flare out of the blue is common and can happen despite your best efforts.” The best way to avoid flare-ups is to practice preventative measures.
These include the following:
Talking to an allergist may help you to be able to better identify what causes outbreaks for you. Common triggers include sweat, soap, dander, dust, detergents, and any number of food allergies.
During flare-ups, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream to control the outbreak. In cases of severe flare-ups, they may also prescribe an oral steroid. An oral steroid is not for long- term use due to the potential for serious side effects. If the skin becomes infected due to cracking or scratching, you may be prescribed a topical or oral antibiotic to clear up the infection. Some cases may be treated with wet dressings or light therapy, as recommended by a doctor.
Usually, a rash due to a minor allergic infection can be treated with over-the-counter creams and lotions and keeping the area clean and dry until it heals.
Some reasons to see your doctor for an eczema rash:
These severe reactions might be cause to speak to a doctor. If you’re consistently experiencing allergic eczema rashes, you might also want to speak to a doctor and get an appointment with a dermatologist or allergist to see what your allergies are or if you have a chronic type of eczema.
Regardless of whether you’re experiencing allergic eczema or you have a chronic skin condition, you can get diagnosed, treated, and prescribed medication online by a doctor. Our partner PlushCare offers convenient, affordable, same-day appointments, and their doctors are well-versed in a large variety of skin conditions, including allergic eczema.
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