I get lots of questions about
how people should deal with a skin allergy.
Switching to organic beauty products like those from (edited) is just one of many things you should consider doing.
For National Allergy
Week I gave a number of consultations to people with skin
allergies - ranging from eczema to contact dermatitis - and provided them with a fact sheet on how to help eliminate the problem.*
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is a disorder of the immune system. It occurs when your body is hypersensitive to an environmental trigger (or 'allergen') and reacts against it.
Common allergens include animal hair, dust mites, pollen, chemicals and certain foods.
The idea for (edited) was born out of a bad skin allergy. As a long term urticaria sufferer, I wanted to tackle the root cause of the problem and eliminate the chemicals I applied to my skin.
The best way to treat a skin allergy is to identify the primary triggers causing it and avoid them.
This is easier said than done!
It can be difficult to isolate and eliminate a single allergen and often we have to settle for improving a skin condition rather than eradicating it.
Here are our top ten lifestyle tips to help you on your way.
The Top Ten Tips
1. Avoid stress
Stress and anxiety are known to cause skin flare-ups or make allergies more aggressive. If you want to tackle your allergy then eliminate potential sources of stress first. Book yourself a holiday or take a couple of weeks off work to relax and recuperate.
Get lots of it. Sleep affects your physical and mental health and is essential for the normal functioning of your immune system.
It’s the only time your body and skin gets to regenerate.
3. Don’t over wash
Cleaning the skin too frequently can strip your natural oils and lessens its ability to heal itself effectively.
Harsh chemical detergents are not only allergy triggers
in themselves but also can cause the skin to produce excess oil (sebum) as a form of protection.
Pores can become clogged and infected, resulting in spots. Always bathe in warm, rather than hot water and wear natural fibres, like cotton, next to the skin.
4. Beauty products
Read the label, as buying ‘organic’ doesn’t always mean getting ‘organic’. There is no labelling regulation so companies can make ‘all natural’ claims yet still contain any number of harsh, synthetic ingredients.
Don’t be duped. Here are some of the chemicals to avoid:
- artificial fragrances or ‘parfum’
- propylene glycol (PG)
- mineral oil (paraffin oil/wax)
- polyethylene glycol (PEG)
- formaldehyde (imidazolidinyl urea)
- pthalates (DEP, DEHP)
- parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-)
- sodium lauryl / laureth sulfate
One of (edited)s founding principles is to avoid not just the types of chemicals above, but also to ensure that the natural ingredients we use, such as essential oils, also do not irritate the skin.
A lot of skin allergies
can be successfully treated through the stomach.
Increase your intake of Essential Fatty Acids (omega 3 & 6) by eating avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fish. Flaxseed, safflower and evening primrose oils are also excellent sources.
6. Eat alkaline foods
Ragnar Berg pioneered research in the 1930s that showed a link between highly acidic foods and eczema flare-ups.
Worst offenders are: rice, bran, porridge oats, wheat, red meat and cheese. Alkaline foods include: cucumber, dried fruits (especially figs and raisins), leafy greens, carrots, spinach, bananas and potatoes.
7. Avoid alcohol
Many allergy sufferers are deficient of the enzyme Aldehyde Dehydrogenase which metabolises alcohol. If alcohol isn’t broken down properly it is toxic to the body and an immediate immune response is triggered to try and rid these toxins.
8. Avoid refined sugar
It interferes with the white blood cells’ ability to destroy micro-organisms and is often linked to eczema.
Replace with a raw cane sugar or use natural sweeteners such as honey.
9. Eat sterols and sterolins
These are vegetable fats found in beans/ legumes and balance the immune system.
Mung bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are both excellent sources, you can buy them ready-sprouted in most good health food shops.
10. Eliminate household chemicals
Avoid heavy use of surface cleaners and air fresheners.
Use natural minerals to clean surfaces instead and
open a window to eliminate bad odours!
Links to commercial website have been edited out of this post.