One of the most common complaint people see an allergist for is skin rashes. Usually confined to small area that has come into contact with an offending allergen, it can spread and cause additional problems if left untreated. Similar to other types of irritations, skin rashes can be anywhere from inconvenient to debilitating and can be caused by a number of things, many that are found in a variety of products making isolation difficult except with patch testing.
Many skin rashes can develop later in life, while other become apparent at the first sign of exposure. Many of the items to which people are allergic are common and seem almost innocuous as to causing skin rashes. Products made of jewelry metal such as gold, silver and nickel are often cited as the cause of irritations, and in some people, and even the smallest trace of the element can trigger a break out.
While the most common cure for skin rashes is to avoid contact with the offending product. Corticosteroid cream has shown to offer relief for irritation on the skin, but of those used to test its effectiveness against skin rashes, three percent developed an allergy to the cream.
Common Items Cause Uncommon Problems
In addition to jewelry metals, ingredients in many common items are known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Thimeroral is a mercury compound often found in antiseptics and vaccines can cause skin rashes in some patients. A common ingredient in cosmetics, deodorant, soap and pet food, neomycin sulfate has also been know to cause rashes in some users.
Quaternium 15, commonly used as a preservative in self-tanning lotions, shampoo, nail polish and sunscreen can also cause skin rashes and bacitracin, used as a topical antibiotic is blamed for rashes on many users. The ingredients in products meant to protect most folks from irritating skin rashes can cause a reaction in others.
Formaldehyde is often used in medications, household cleaners and cosmetics and has been known to cause severe rashes in some people, and if used on an existing rash can exacerbate the problem. Cobalt chloride in hair dye, antiperspirant and alloyed with metals for buttons and snaps can also be a problem for allergic users. Figuring out the exact cause of skin rashes can be a time-consuming process and the current patch test is about the only way to narrow down the choices. Contacting an allergist for persistent skin rashes can determine if the test is necessary to isolate the offending product.