4 Common Causes Of Skin Allergy In Children

skin allergy in kids

If your kid is scratching the skin very often or if there is a rash on the skin that fails to go away on its own, then it could indicate a skin allergy. One of the most common allergies in children, skin allergies can be caused due to various factors that range from changes in weather to exposure to environmental toxins. Let us understand some of the common causes of skin allergies in children.

Common causes of skin allergy in children

The cases of allergic diseases in kids have increased significantly over the years. According to a study published in the journal Pediatric Child Health, allergies affect around 35% of children. Moreover, if allergies run in the families, then there is a high chance that your kid might also suffer from the condition. However, the sensitivity to the allergens can vary from environmental allergens or irritants to food ingredients.

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1. Eczema (Atopic dermatitis)

It is one of the common skin allergies in children that affects around 10% of children worldwide. If your child suffers from conditions such as asthma, food allergies, or hay fever, then the risk of getting eczema is high. Also, if any of these conditions run in the family, then your kid is at risk for eczema

If your child has eczema, then her skin is very dry and lacks moisture, which makes it more prone to irritation and inflammation when exposed. Moreover, some kids with eczema also have food sensitivity which further worsens the condition when exposed to food triggers.

The symptoms of eczema include:

-Dry skin which is itchy and irritated

-Red rash

-Recurrent skin infections

The symptoms might worsen when exposed to dry air, sweat, soaps, rough fabrics or foods such as soy, eggs, and nuts.

2. Contact dermatitis

Also known as allergic rash, contact dermatitis is a condition that occurs when the skin comes in contact with an allergen. For example, if your kid is allergic to copper, then coming in direct contact with a vessel or a jewelry or copper (even in a small amount) might trigger an allergic reaction. This is known as contact dermatitis.

The symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

-Red, bumpy rashes on the skin

-Scaly and itchy skin

-Severe itching

-Swelling of the skin at the site of contact

Some of the common triggers of allergic contact dermatitis include nickel (metal), poison ivy, ingredients in toothpaste or mouthwash, cosmetics, dyes, and even certain medicines.

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3. Hives (urticaria)

Hives are skin allergies that appear as red bumps on the skin when it comes in contact with an allergen. Clinically termed as urticaria, hives usually go away on its own if you avoid the allergen. Moreover, unlike other skin allergies, hives can appear anywhere on the body and can last for a few minutes to hours or days.

Hives cause an inflammation which is triggered by the immune system that releases histamine. This compound causes the blood vessels to leak and cause swelling of the skin. In addition to red and itchy rashes on the skin, it can also lead to other symptoms such as difficulty in breathing and swelling of the face and mouth. Urticaria is classified into:

Acute urticaria: It occurs after coming in contact with a trigger such as foods, medicines, insect bites, infection or non-allergic triggers such as heat (exposure to sun’s rays, known as solar urticaria) and exercise.

Chronic urticaria: It is a rare condition that is caused by specific triggers and can last for months to years. These can be painful but are not contagious.

Hence, it is necessary to consult a doctor to diagnose the type of the allergy and prevent it from becoming a severe allergic reaction.

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4. Angioedema

It is a skin allergy that is characterized by swelling of the skin and is often accompanied by hives. It usually occurs in the eyelids, mouth or genitals, however, in some cases, it can lead to swelling of the respiratory tract or digestive mucosa. Swelling of laryngitis can lead to life-threatening complications.

Acute angioedema lasts for a few minutes to hours and is usually triggered by an allergic reaction to medicines or foods such as nuts, soy milk, eggs, etc. Chronic angioedema, known as recurrent angioedema, usually lasts longer and doesn’t have a known cause.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Sachin Dhawan, Consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Hospital, Gurugram, and Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

Recommended Reads:

Know Your Doctor: Skin Specialist

Do You Have Melasma (Patchy Skin)? Here Is What You Need To Know


Chad Z. Allergies in children. Paediatr Child Health. 2001 Oct;6(8):555-66.

Skin Allergy. Overview. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Nitin J, Palagani R, Shradha NH, Vaibhav J, Kowshik K, Manoharan R, Nelliyanil M. Prevalence, severity and risk factors of allergic disorders among people in south India. Afr Health Sci. 2016 Mar;16(1):201-9.

Incorvaia C, Frati F, Verna N, D’Alò S, Motolese A, Pucci S. Allergy and the skin. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Sep;153 Suppl 1:27-9.

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