We’ve all heard of allergy… but what exactly is it?
Allergy is a set of conditions where the body’s immune system “misrecognises” a harmless element in our food or environment as a threat. It’s a bit like a security alarm being set off by something as harmless as a leaf or the wind.
The key event in all allergic reactions is histamine release triggered by “allergy bombs” called mast cells that are primed to react to specific allergens. This is what causes all the characteristic symptoms that drive us crazy: redness, itching, burning, swelling… Link here directly to paragraph below: “My skin reactions are driving me crazy… what can I do”?
Skin: the #1 site of allergy manifestation
There are 3 main types of allergic skin reactions:
1) Urticaria or “hives”: A super common instant reaction to substances that touch our skin, as well as the foods we eat or medications we take. It is a widespread, raised, red and incredibly itchy rash.
2) Contact dermatitis: A scaling, itching, burning rash sometimes with vesicles and/or oozing. This red skin rash can take weeks to fade. It can be either irritant or allergic in origin and crops up around 48 hours after exposure. The commonest causes include nickel, harsh alkaline soaps and household cleaning products. Many cases are also due to additives, irritants and even nickel in cosmetics. Look for formulas with a minimum of additives and irritants; some are even labelled nickel-controlled.
3) Atopic dermatitis (eczema): In eczema, the skin barrier is “defective” which allows allergens and irritants to break through the barrier, reach the deeper skin layers and cause inflammation. This causes an itch-scratch cycle that can interfere with sleep and quality of life, especially for children. A safe-formulation emollient is always the first step of a soothing skincare routine. Discover the Lipikar Baume AP+.
My skin reactions are driving me crazy… what can I do?
Increasing numbers of people experience allergic skin type reactions to the wrong cosmetics, the wrong washing powder and even household products. The on-skin results? Itching, burning, surface dryness, sometimes dramatic visible reactions… sound familiar?
Here are 3 top strategies for dealing with these reactions:
1) Strengthen your skin’s barrier with a cream you can trust. That means safe ingredients and minimal preservatives and fragrances. This barrier will help protect skin from contact allergens such as pollen and laundry detergents.
2) Keep your cool as there are many little things you can do to take the sting out of skin reactions. For a start, keep your creams in the fridge.
3) If all else fails… Hide your “allergy face” with make-up! A few simple tips can make all the difference to distract from the symptoms of allergy:
• Red, watering eyes: distract from redness with black lashes and opt for a waterproof mascara if tearing and smudging are issues.
• Dark circles: these can be worsened by allergic rhinitis. Pick a supersoft penbrush to dot over the area with intense concealer pigments in a yellow tone, before blending with a clean fingertip.
• Facial flushing and redness: correct excessive red pigment in your complexion with a green corrector pen, then follow up with a soothing fluid foundation.