Chronic HivesChronic Hives Causes

Let's Talk About the Causes of Chronic Hives

Your doctor may be baffled over what, exactly, is causing your hives. Researchers suspect an immune system gone haywire might play a role.

    Our Pro PanelChronic Hives Causes

    We went to some of the nation’s top CIU experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Morgan Rabach, M.D.

    Morgan Rabach, M.D.Clinical Instructor in the Department of Dermatology

    Mount Sinai Hospital
    New York, NY
    Purvi Parikh, M.D.

    Purvi Parikh, M.D.Adult and Pediatric Allergist and Immunologist

    NYU Langone Health
    New York City
    Ronald L. Ragotzy, M.D.

    Ronald L. Ragotzy, M.D.Allergist and Immunologist

    Beloit Memorial Hospital
    Beloit, WI

    Frequently Asked QuestionsChronic Hives Causes

    Can chronic hives be triggered by diet?

    When it comes to CIU it’s possible, if not probable. Still, it’s best to have an allergist run a full series of tests against tree pollen (and foods that grow from trees that produce it) to make sure that you don’t have food allergies.

    What should you avoid if you're prone to CIU?

    Since the cause of chronic hives is undetermined, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which triggers you may need to avoid. Still, if you have CIU, known triggers such as NSAID medications and extreme temperature changes should be on your “what to avoid” list.

    Are there certain skin types that are more prone to chronic hives?

    Yes. Some people who are dermatographic—meaning their skin can erupt in hive-looking welts or redness when it is lightly scratched—are more susceptible. Also, people who generally have sensitive skin have a higher risk of CIU.

    Do certain fragrances or scented beauty products make CIU worse?

    They could. Any physical stimulation, whether it’s from a topical chemical or ingredient placed on the skin, can make hives worse. Plus, there can be olfactory connections with hives—in other words, various scents can sometimes lead to skin reactions—even without skin contact.

    Nykia Spradley

    Nykia Spradley


    Nykia Spradley is a beauty and wellness writer whose work has been published by ESSENCE, Cosmopolitan, Oprah Magazine and more.