How To Manage Skin Allergies

Argh, skin allergies! I don’t personally suffer from it too often, except for the occasional dry hands, but I understand that it is an annoying thing for those afflicted by it. As such, we have researched the topic superficially (no pun intended) to bring you some tips to help you manage that pesky allergy of yours.

According to a few articles we have come across, an effective approach to managing skin allergies comprises of three components.  Firstly, you must understand the condition. Secondly, you must discover if anything is triggering your skin reaction, and thirdly, you must look after your skin. Everything boils down to these.

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Many people think that allergies only affect the respiratory or digestive systems, but in reality, they can also affect your largest organ- your skin. As with other allergies, the immune system overreacts to the presence of certain substances and releases inflammation-producing chemicals. This is the basis of what allergies are in the first place.

With that being said, we cannot cover each and every skin allergy possible, as there are plenty of them and they are varied. There are a few “umbrella” pointers, but they really do your specific condition no justice. The best way to fulfill the first approach to understand it is to do some research and talk to your doctor. You can be confident of controlling your skin condition better if you are sure you understand what causes it.

The second component in managing a skin allergy is identifying, and then systematically eliminating the allergens and irritants that start the itching/scratching cycle. This can be extremely difficult, as there are over three thousand known triggers for skin allergies. Many are natural, but there are plenty of man-made ones too. Journalling is a useful approach. To start with, let’s go through a few common ones.

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A common man-made trigger is latex, which comes from the sap of the Brazilian rubber tree. The natural proteins found in the plant, as well as those added in the manufacturing process can trigger an allergic reaction. Most people are aware that this can lead to reactions if you wear latex gloves. Don’t overlook the fact that latex is also present in baby pacifiers, balloons, pencil erasers and elastic bands in undergarments. There can also be problems when latex particles become airborne and are inhaled. If you have a latex allergy, try to avoid the material and use vinyl or plastic where possible.

Nickel is another common trigger. In addition to the obvious nickel-containing metallic objects like coins and jewellery, nickel is also present in everyday objects like scissors, bathroom and kitchen cabinet handles, and zippers. Mascara, eye shadow and eye pencils also contain nickel. Surprisingly, experts estimate that the number of people suffering from a nickel allergy has risen about 40% in the last decade. Some foods also have natural nickel content and people who suffer severe symptoms may need to restrict their diet under medical supervision.

The third component of effective management is looking after your skin. We often overlook it, but the easiest thing to do is to keep your fingernails short to reduce the damage caused by scratching. Managing your skin’s condition means firstly moisturizing and softening the skin to ensure it does not dry out. I’m guilty of violating this one at times. Your doctor may recommend you use topical corticosteroid preparations to control the inflammation.

When you take a bath soak in lukewarm water for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not have excessively hot baths or showers, as the heat will increase skin dryness and itching. This might be a tad surprising, but you can actually add oatmeal or baking soda to the bath for a soothing effect. Keep in mind, though, that it does not help moisturise the skin.

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Use a mild soap or a non-soap cleanser with neutral pH (pH7). It shouldn’t be hard to find such soaps anyway. If you wish to add bath oils, do so after you have been in the water so that it can seal in the moisture. Do not use bubble baths as they can form a barrier that stops the bathwater moisturising your skin. After showering, dry yourself by patting your skin with a soft towel. This will help it to retain moisture. You can then apply lotion to seal it in.

To look after your skin you will also need to avoid situations where you will experience extreme physical contact, heavy perspiration, or heavy clothing. This may mean avoiding some sports, which is unfortunate for some of our fan base. Swimming is permissible if you rinse the chlorine from your skin as soon as you leave the pool, and use a moisturiser after drying yourself.

I hope that this article has been helpful. Follow these three steps and you will be able to control your skin allergy and minimise its impact on your everyday life. Don’t forget to go to the doctor first to check what kind of allergy you have. That is the most important point!

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