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Question
Posted by: Carrie | 2006/10/31

Allergic reactions and allergy testing

A few years ago I noticed that I started to develop an allergic reaction after wearing plasters. My doctor indicated that I might have developed an allergic reaction to the sticky substance on them. During my pregnancy I also developed eczema on my hand. However, it went away after my baby was born although I continue to avoid using harsh soaps that seemed to trigger/worsen it. I recently had a leg wax (for the first time) and then used a light self-tanning moisturising cream 24 hours later. Unfortunately, I developed a severe allergic reaction (extreme swelling of my leg and itchy, raised and red patches of skin) on one of my legs and ended up being put on a course of tablets (an antihistamine as well as phenergan) and had to use an antihistamine cream (the name escapes me, but it was far more effective than mylocort). Was this reaction as a result of my pores being highly sensitive after the waxing process, or is there a substance in the cream that I am sensitised towards - or is it the waxing process I should avoid altogether? It appears that I am developing more skin-related allergies, the older I get! Should I go for allergy testing and what type of test would be the most effective (i.e. a blood test as opposed to observing a reaction on the skin directly)?

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Our expert says:
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You may indeed be allergic to something that is applied to the skin. One or two examples-nickel in costume jewellery, adhesives, preservatives, chromates, plants, dyes, fragrances. I do not think that waxing made the pores more sensitive, but it is certainly an innovative thought! I am, like you, more concerned about something in the depilatory cream. You should have an allergy test. It is called a patch test and is performed by most dermatologists. A blood test is not really worthwhile. Do you suffer form asthma/hay fever? Such persons tend to develop skin allergies.

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