What are Skin Allergies?Skin allergies are one of the most common medical conditions. Skin allergies occur when a personís immune system overreacts to a particular substance, that is harmless to most people. The substances which cause such reaction are called allergens and the response of the skin to an allergen is known as Allergic Skin Reaction. This reaction is due to certain antibodies IgE, which are produced by the body in response to the allergen. The common signs of skin allergies include dryness, flaking, redness, itchiness, rash and swelling. There may also be itchy raised bumps, which look like ant bites. The allergic skin conditions include Eczema [Atopic Dermatitis], Contact Dermatitis, Hives [Urticaria] and Angioedema.
There are many home remedies which have been found very effective in treating skin allergies. These tackle both the external skin, as well as the internal body problems responsible for the allergies. This results in long-term healing effects without any side effects.
What Causes Skin Allergies?
- Food such as peanuts, nuts, cow's milk, seafood, eggs
- Food additives - Butylated hydroxy toluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which are added to many breakfast cereals, breads to preserve their color, odor and flavor may cause skin swelling, redness, hives and severe itching. Sulphites, commonly used in the production of processed foods and beverages, wine, dried fruits, jams and jellies are known to cause itching and skin rash
- Nickel - This metal is frequently used in artificial jewelry, bra hooks or buttons on clothing and often causes skin allergies
- Fragrances used in beauty products, deodorant, soap, detergents
- Plants such as poison ivy, stinging nettle, ficus
- Synthetic clothing and dyes used in clothing
- Furry pets, saliva or urine of pets such as cats and dogs
- Contact with rubber, elastic, vinyl or latex
- Antiseptic creams containing chlorhexidine [found in mouthwash, toothpaste, eye drops, eczema creams], neomycin sulphate
- Insect bites of wasps and bees
Top 10 Home Remedies for Skin Allergies1. Coconut Oil: It is a popular choice to soften skin, reduce dryness and flaking and itching of skin. Coconut oil reduces inflammation and supports healing of the skin. The Vitamin E, Vitamin K and medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are key ingredients, which penetrate skin and help in moisturizing and treating skin conditions. It can be used directly or mixed with equal quantity of olive oil. Massage oil gently on skin and leave it on for at least half an hour. Applying coconut oil after a bath keeps the skin soft and problem-free especially, if you have sensitive skin.
2. Honey: It has been used since ages to promote rapid tissue healing, encourage new skin growth and to prevent bacterial growth. You can apply honey directly to skin 2-3 times daily. Leave it for at least 30 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water. One part of honey can also be mixed with one part of cinnamon powder and applied. Drinking lukewarm water with one tablespoon each of honey and lime juice proves helpful in clearing up the skin allergies.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): The antifungal and antibacterial properties together with high levels of minerals especially potassium make it a popular choice for the treatment of skin allergies. It helps to detoxify the body, balances skin pH levels and boosts the immune system. Mix ACV and water in equal quantities and apply to skin with cotton swab. You can put this mixture in spray bottle and spurt on the affected area 2-3 times daily till skin allergy has cleared. For sensitive skins you can also add 1-2 cups of ACV to lukewarm bathwater. Soak in this water for about 20-30 minutes. This is helpful in treating severe and widespread cases of dermatitis. Apple cider vinegar is also very effective when taken orally. Dilute 1 tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water and drink this twice daily. You can add a teaspoon of honey to improve the taste.
4. Ice Therapy: Hold an ice pack over your eczema patches for 10-15 minutes. This numbs the skin and reduces blood circulation to the affected area. When the ice pack is removed the veins start to dilate and blood rushes to the part carrying nutrients, which flush out the toxins and enable healing of the damaged tissues. This offers prompt relief from itching.
5. Baking Soda: It has natural antiseptic and skin cleansing properties that clear the bacteria on the skin. It gently exfoliates the skin to reduce the itching and irritation of eczema affected skin areas. Add half cup of baking soda to a tub of water. Soak in the water for 30 minutes. Rinse body with lukewarm water. You can also add 1 cup of ground oatmeal or 2-3 tablespoon of virgin olive oil to bath water for added benefit. Another simple method is to make a paste of baking soda and water and apply directly to affected part. Leave for about 10 minutes and rinse with plain water. Apply a natural moisturizer such as virgin coconut or olive oil to seal in the hydration.
6. Oatmeal: It contains complex sugars, proteins, saponins [plant compounds] and fats which hydrate your skin and prevents it from drying out. The gel like consistency creates a protective skin barrier against allergens, lubricates the skin and also cleans the skin pores. Grind 2 cups of oatmeal and add it to lukewarm bath water. Soak in the bath for ten to fifteen minutes. Pat yourself dry gently with a clean towel. This treatment can be done two to three times daily.
7. Lemon: Use of lemon juice both internally and externally is beneficial in healing of skin allergies. For best benefits, drink lemon water in the morning on an empty stomach. Take a glass of warm water, squeeze a full lemon in it and drink it.
For eczema, dip a cotton ball in lemon juice, apply it on the skin and leave for 15 minutes. Then, rinse it off. Repeat it twice a day for best results.
8. Basil (Tulsi): It has proven purifying and healing properties. Regular intake of juice of tulsi leaves or dried tulsi leaf powder with warm water purifies the blood. This promotes quick healing, as well as prevents skin diseases. Applying paste of tulsi leaves on affected part also helps. You can boil 25-30 tulsi leaves in 100 ml of mustard oil. When leaves turn black, strain the oil, cool it and apply on skin.
9. Neem: It contains nimbin and nimbidin which have antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. These provide relief from pain and secondary infections from eczema. You can crush 8-10 neem leaves, mix with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and apply on the affected part. One part of neem oil diluted with three parts of mustard or coconut oil can be applied on skin till the eczema clears. You may also eat five to six tender neem leaves daily to purify blood.
10. Aloe Vera and Mint: Both have a soothing, moisturizing and healing effect on the skin. Aloe vera gel can be applied on inflamed skin for about half an hour and then washed off with lukewarm water. It can be repeated two to three times daily depending on severity of condition. Few drops of Vitamin E oil can also be added to Aloe gel for added benefit. Two tablespoons of Aloe vera juice taken in a glass of water every morning has detoxifying effects on the body. Mint leaves can be ground into paste or the extracted juice can be applied directly to skin. A strong infusion of fresh mint leaves can also be applied on affected the areas.