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Skin Allergy Doctor in St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Sonia Cajigal is a board-certified skin allergy doctor in St. Louis, Missouri that can help you and your children live comfortably with eczema, hives, rashes, and contact dermatitis. Visit us at St. Louis Family Allergy to better understand your triggers and to learn what treatment options will work best for you. Schedule your visit today!

“Dr. Cajigal was friendly, professional, and informative. She took the time to explain the tests and what was going on with my allergies. She is so knowledgeable and really cared about how I was feeling. I would highly recommend this practice if you suffer from allergies and asthma.”

– Sue D, July 2020

Skin Allergy Doctor Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy in St. Louis, Missouri
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About Skin Allergies

Skin Allergies Overview

Skin Allergy Tests

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Hives (Urticaria)

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

A skin allergy is an immune system reaction to an allergen or irritant that causes scaly skin, itchiness, bumps, redness, blisters, welts, or skin rashes. Skin allergies can flare up when an irritant makes direct contact with your skin or when you eat foods that you’re allergic to.

When we think about skin allergies, we often think about the immediate symptoms, but skin allergies can have social and mental health ramifications as well. For example, children with eczema can report feeling isolated or anxious because of the abnormal appearance of their skin and the discomfort of their day-to-day symptoms. Dr. Cajigal can help you identify what you’re allergic to and provide treatment strategies to help you and your children live more comfortably with your skin allergies.

See a Skin Allergy Doctor

in St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Cajigal performing skin testing for allergies

Skin Allergy Tests

A skin allergy test begins with a detailed medical history, followed by a combination of skin tests, blood tests, and/or tests for other allergies.

Allergy Skin Prick Test

Dr. Cajigal may suggest an allergy skin prick test, where small volumes of suspected allergens (and controls) are placed on your skin and pricked with a sterile needle. After 20 minutes, the skin is re-examined for any bumps indicating an allergic reaction. This may be followed by an intradermal skin allergy test, in which a small amount of the suspected allergen is injected directly under the surface of the skin.

Blood Test for a Skin Allergy

A blood test for a skin allergy can measure the amount of antibody circulating in the blood in reaction to the specific allergen of interest. This confirmatory test is often used to rule out a suspected allergen if skin testing shows no response.

Skin Patch Allergy Test

A skin patch allergy test is primarily used to understand if skin allergies are due to contact with something in your home or work environment. Very small chambers containing different potential allergens are taped to a patient’s back for several days to see what skin reactions occur. Chambers may contain a variety of substances, including metals, rubbers, fragrances, preservatives, and sometimes medications. Localized patches of inflammation appear within 2 to 4 days, or even up to a week, if a skin allergy is present.

Additional Skin Allergy Tests

Skin allergies are often linked to asthma, nasal allergies, or food allergies, so additional testing for these conditions may be required to pinpoint your skin allergy triggers.

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in St. Louis, Missouri

Girl with skin allergy eczema rash on her neck

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a condition that makes your skin red, itchy, and scaly. It is the most common skin condition, especially among children. In infants, eczema rash often appears on the face, whereas children typically have the rash at the bends of the elbow joints, wrists, behind the knees, and behind the ears. Adolescents and young adults typically have the rash in the same locations as children, as well as on the hands and the feet. When infected, eczema rash leaks fluid that crusts over when scratched.

Eczema Rash Treatment

There are steps you can take to keep your eczema under control.

Avoid Allergy Triggers: In general, individuals with skin allergies should avoid using soap products that contain laureth sulfate. Proper skin allergy tests can help you find out if certain allergens or foods are contributing to your eczema flare ups and help you avoid them.

Avoid Scratching: Itching makes the rash worse. This is especially true of eczema. Cotton undergarments and body suits can also be helpful in protecting the skin from irritants and stopping you from scratching.

Topical Ointments & Moisturizers: In some cases, eczema can be suppressed with regular use of moisturizer and topical medicines, such as topical steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, or phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor.

Bleach Baths: Dilute bleach baths once or twice a week may help improve eczema rash and decrease the need for antibiotics. Be careful not to use too much bleach; the recommended beach bath consists of one quarter to one half cup of bleach mixed with 40 gallons of water.

Wet Wrap Therapy: Wet wrap therapy is individualized and should be performed under the guidance of your allergist. In wet wrap therapy, the skin is soaked in warm water for about 15 to 20 minutes and then patted dry. Topical medications (prescribed by your allergist) are then placed on the skin rash, followed by a wet (but not dripping) dressing being applied on top of the rash areas. This wet wrap is then followed by a dry wrap material, such as elastic bandage, pajamas, sock, or warm blanket. Wraps are typically used for 2 to 6 hours.

Antibiotics: Oozing, crusting, and painful skin are usually signs of an eczema infection. If your skin allergy doctor determines that a bacterial infection is causing your eczema flare up, antibiotics can help.

Biologic Therapy: Dupilumab is an injectable biologic therapy that is used to treat adults and children age 12 and older with moderate-to-severe eczema that is otherwise difficult to control. Dupilumab may also be an option if you cannot use topical therapies.

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in St. Louis, Missouri

Zoomed in picture of hives on the skin

Hives (Urticaria)

Hives, also called urticaria, appear as itchy, red and white raised bumps or welts that range in size and can appear anywhere on the body. Hives occur when your immune system triggers the release of histamine in response to eating a certain food or coming into contact with something that you’re allergic to. In excess, histamine causes small blood vessels in your skin to leak, causing swelling near the surface of your skin. Swelling in deeper layers of the skin is called angioedema, and usually appears on the face, around the eyes, cheeks, or lips.

Some of the more common skin allergy triggers for hives are exercise, sweat, hormones, stress, illness, scratching, cold, sunlight, pressure, or vibrations. Skin allergy triggers vary from person to person, which is why personalized skin allergy tests are important to understand your triggers.

Hives that last longer than 6 weeks are called chronic urticaria, and generally have a different underlying cause that’s unrelated to allergies.

Treatment for Hives

There are steps you can take to avoid hives outbreaks, alleviate them when they occur, and reduce the recurrence of hives.

Avoid Allergy Triggers: In general, individuals with skin allergies should avoid using soap products that contain laureth sulfate. Proper skin allergy testing can help you find out if certain allergens or foods are causing your hives and help you avoid them.

Avoid Scratching: For most skin allergies, itching makes the rash worse. Cotton undergarments and body suits can also be helpful in protecting the skin from irritants and stopping you from scratching.

Oral Antihistamines: Oral antihistamines can usually alleviate itchiness and prevent hives from recurring. In some cases hives symptoms are not controlled by the standard dose, in which case your allergist may prescribe a stronger dose for better symptom control. In some cases, antihistamines may be ineffective at controlling your skin rash or leave bruises. If you’re experiencing this, be sure to check in with your allergist so they can evaluate you for alternative treatment options. Please check in with your allergist before starting on any new medications.

Biologic Therapy: Omalizumab is an injectable biologic therapy that may be helpful in individuals with chronic hives that are resistant to antihistamine treatment.

Blood Pressure Medications: Certain blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors, can cause angioedema. Switching to another blood pressure medication may help relieve swelling.

See a Skin Allergy Doctor

in St. Louis, Missouri

Skin patch testing for allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis can occur when your skin comes in direct contact with something that you are allergic to, like certain jewelry, fragrances, or plants. In response, the skin becomes red, bumpy, scaly, itchy, or swollen at the point of contact.

Treatment for Contact Dermatitis

Most cases of contact dermatitis go away on their own once the substance is no longer in contact with the skin. There are steps you can take to avoid contact dermatitis reactions and alleviate them when they occur.

Avoid Allergy Triggers: If you have a skin allergy, you should only use mild soap products. You should also avoid any products that you think might be causing your contact dermatitis until you get tested. Proper skin allergy tests can help you find out if certain allergens are causing your skin reactions and help you avoid them.

Avoid Scratching: Avoid scratching your irritated skin. Scratching can make the irritation worse or even cause a skin infection that requires antibiotics.

Antihistamines: Antihistamines can help alleviate itching and reduce allergic responses.

Topical Ointments & Moisturizers: Regular moisturizers like bland petroleum jelly can help soothe skin that’s reacting to allergic contact dermatitis. Anti-itch treatments and topical medicines, such as topical steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, or phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors can also help to relieve itching.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Get in touch with us at St. Louis Family Allergy to learn more about skin allergies and how to most effectively manage them! We’re looking forward to your visit.

References

[1] American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: https://acaai.org/
[2] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: https://www.aafa.org/
More Specialties

Asthma

Drug Allergies

Eye Allergies

Food Allergies

Nasal Allergies

Skin Allergies

Allergy Shots

Allergy Testing

Biologic Therapy

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Visit Allergist Dr. Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy in St. Louis, Missouri

Skin Allergy Doctor
Dr. Sonia Cajigal

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St. Louis Family Allergy Google review score badge
"Dr. Cajigal was friendly, professional, and informative. She took the time to explain the tests and what was going on with my allergies. She is so knowledgeable and really cared about how I was feeling. I would highly recommend this practice if you suffer from allergies and asthma."

- Sue D, July 2020

“Dr Cajigal is a great listener. She trusts her patients instead of treating them as if they are not the experts of their own bodies. I really appreciate that (many doctors do not have that quality). She also immediately treats the symptoms instead of waiting to see if things clear. I use her for my children and myself. We have never left her office feeling as if it was a waste of time.”

– Stephanie, August 2020

"Great Allergist!"

- Ann H, December 2018

"She is the best."

- Stephen W, June 2020

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