Ever had a skin rash, itching, redness or swelling after touching or eating something? Chances are, you had a skin allergic reaction. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, close to 10 million (and this is a best guess, really!) people in the United States suffer from skin allergies. An allergic reaction is basically an immune response gone awry.
The immune system is supposed to find and fight pathogenic organisms like bacteria and viruses. But an extra-sensitive immune system could turn its awesome powers against seemingly harmless substances like latex or pet dander or poison ivy. These things are called allergens or allergy-generating substances. This results in allergic reactions like hay fever, food allergy or skin allergies.
Skin allergies are of different types. These could be eczema or atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, hives or urticaria and swelling or angioedema. The common signs of a skin allergy are:
- Raised bumps
- Flaking of skin and
- Cracked skin (from drying)
The most obvious way to avoid a skin allergy is to avoid contact with the allergen. If you’ve ever had an allergic skin reaction, you have a fair idea of what caused it. The simplest way to avoid the harrowing allergy, is to stay away from the allergen.
Here Are Some Natural Ways to Get Quick Relief from Itchy Skin Allergies:
Cold Bath Or Cold Compress
Unless your skin allergy is triggered by cold (surprising, but unfortunately, sometimes true!), a cold shower could be just what you need. During an allergic reaction, a chemical called histamine is released from our immune cells. It seeps out of the blood vessels and enters the tissue beneath the skin. This then directs an allergic reaction. A cold shower shrinks your blood vessels and doesn’t allow the histamine to come out of the blood vessels. This reduces the severity of the allergic reaction. A cold shower also helps reduce skin irritation.
Extra virgin olive oil is truly a blessing from the Gods! Not only is it great as salad dressing, it also doubles up as a great moisturizer. It is rich in vitamin E that is vital for good skin health. It’s also loaded with powerful antioxidants. These help to heal and repair the skin after it has suffered allergic damage. It also reduces itching. Apply generous amounts of olive oil over the affected part. You can also use it over the whole body after the cold shower. This could help you far better than chemical-laden moisturizers.
The humble kitchen soda bi-carb is an excellent home medicine for skin allergy. Baking soda helps the skin rash dry out. It also relieves itching and prevents further inflammation of skin. Make a paste by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda in some water. Apply on the affected area and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Do not leave it on for longer as baking soda itself could cause more irritation.
Medicinal Plants and herbs (Aloe Vera, Neem, Basil, Calendula, Coriander)
Many plants are known for their their antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-irritant properties, making them excellent choices to deal with allergies. You can buy good quality calendula oil and apply it for a few hours on the affected area. The fleshy, gel-like portion from a fresh aloe vera leaf could also be used as a soothing salve. To use neem, basil and coriander leaves, you can make a paste by grinding these together and then applying it on the affected part. Leave the paste on for an hour or so and then rinse it with plain water. Do not use soap or cleansers.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV has many health benefits, one of them being its ability to reduce the severity of acid reflux. It also has antiseptic and anti-irritant properties. If you apply it over the skin, it can soothe, moisturize and reduce itching. Put a few drops of ACV (use the raw, organic, unfiltered variety) on a cotton ball and dab it all over the affected area. You can rinse the skin after a few minutes. Do this at least twice a day for good results.
Oatmeal, finely ground with water, acts like a soothing balm for inflamed skin. It reduces redness and itching. Oatmeal contains chemicals called avenanthramides which are anti-itching and anti-inflammatory in nature. If you have large areas of skin that are affected, consider adding powdered oatmeal to a bath tub full of lukewarm water. Immerse your body in the tub for around half an hour and then rinse under a gentle shower. If the affected area is small, you can apply an oatmeal poultice to it. To make the poultice, add water to a bowl of powdered oatmeal. Let it stand till it attains a paste-like consistency. Apply this thick paste to the affected area and gently bandage it with a moist cloth. Keep the poultice on for around half an hour and then rinse with plain water.
Urtica dioica, commonly referred to as “stinging nettle” has been known to have anti-histamine properties. Instead of popping anti-histamine tablets, consider using this all-natural therapy. If you want to use stinging nettle extract capsules, you may need up to take six 400-mg capsules a day. If you have access to the fresh plant, you can also collect a few handfuls of the weed, clean it under running water and then steam it. Traditionally, these leaves have been eaten after this cooking process, to get the anti-allergy benefits.
Skin Allergic Reactions: The Internal Causes
A person who usually suffers from an allergies likely has this coded in his/her genes. Such a person is called “atopic.” An atopic individual is “at risk” for specific allergies but may remain without symptoms for their entire life. Atopy may turn to allergy only if the person is exposed to the allergen, that too at a time when the body’s immune system is under stress.
Our lifestyles are one such stressor. Choosing to eat processed foods, leading a sedentary lifestyle, not managing life stress well – are all major factors in “firing the allergy genes.” Therefore, it is safe to say that skin allergies are a result of fine imbalances that happen within our bodies.
A robust immune system is key to avoiding hypersensitive responses. To avoid allergies of all kinds, it is best to lead a wholesome life that entails choosing healthy dietary habits, daily physical exercise and consuming enough high quality probiotics. In fact, science is discovering with each passing day that probiotics are fantastic for multiple body systems. That’s why everyone should make sure that they get them in sufficient measure.
Everyday stress can be managed by slowing down the daily pace, practicing progressive relaxation, yoga and meditation. Drinking chamomile and catnip tea also helps the mind relax. Try these home remedies for skin allergy and treat it safely and naturally.