There are various types of itchy skin allergies and rashes. Nevertheless, not all skin rashes that itch are connected to skin allergies. It is important that you are familiar with the prevalent types of allergic skin rashes.
Hives (Urticaria) and angioedema
Hives or urticaria is described as an itchy rash that can occur at any age. The rash manifests as elevated, red-colored bumps in various sizes and shapes and usually lasts for a few minutes to hours. Even though it can be very itchy, the individual will not generally excoriate (scratch the area up to the point of breaking the skin and lead to bleeding).
The swelling that oftentimes goes along with hives is known as angioedema and often involves the eyes, lips, hands and feet. Take note that angioedema is not usually red in color and itchy, but tends to sting or burn or cause a tingling sensation. If severe swelling occurs that blocks that ability to breathe, it can be life-threatening.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
When it comes to atopic dermatitis, it typically occurs in young children but can start in young adults and can last up to adulthood. The skin rashes caused by atopic dermatitis occurs when the individual scratches the area.
In infancy, the skin rash occurs on the cheeks, chest and scalp which are areas where the child can easily scratch. Among older children and adults, they usually have rashes in the skin folds of the elbows and area behind the knees, but can also occur on the neck, face, hands, back and feet.
Remember that the skin rashes are red, often oozes or flakes and have small-sized bumps or blisters. In some cases, there might be excoriations or areas of broken skin due to persistent scratching by the individual.
Contact dermatitis occurs once the skin came in contact with a particular substance that triggers a rash-like reaction. The body can react to various chemicals including hair dye, cosmetics, metals, dental materials and topical medications. An example of contact dermatitis is a rash from poison ivy which is very itchy and appears as blisters that ooze and crust after exposure to the plant.
It is important to note that the skin rash of contact dermatitis appears similar to atopic dermatitis but it is usually situated only in the area of contact with the chemical. The usual locations include the neck, hands, feet and face, particularly the eyelids. As for contact dermatitis to metals such as snap or zippers on clothing and jewelry typically occur in the wrist, hands, neck, earlobes and waistline.
Itchiness without a skin rash
In some individuals, it is a common issue to experience itchiness without a skin rash. This is called pruritus and the symptoms can indicate a skin condition or even an underlying disease within the body.
Once the itchiness is limited to a certain part of the body, it is most likely a disease process limited to the skin. The area of the body that itches often provides a clue regarding the exact cause of the itchiness.
Remember that pruritus that involves the whole body might still indicate a certain disease of the skin or even a condition caused by metabolic issues such as iron deficiency or thyroid disease. There are several medications that can also trigger itchiness, especially pain medications such as morphine and codeine.