How to Soothe Allergy-Prone Skin
From foods to pollen to cosmetics, there are so many different triggers out there that can cause your skin to respond with an allergic reaction.
This can then lead to rashes, blisters, itching and more, making allergy-prone skin quite challenging to care for.
If you have been looking for ways to soothe your skin either before, during or after an allergic reaction, here are a few tips to help you out.
Apply An Anti-Itch Cream
When experiencing an allergic reaction, one of the worst things that you can do to your skin is scratch at the affected area.
Because this will only aggravate your skin and exacerbate the symptoms that you are experiencing. Severe scratching can also lead to tears in your skin, making it much more vulnerable to allergens. Plus, the more you itch, the itchier your skin will feel, resulting in a vicious cycle that is hard to break.
So what are you meant to do when the itching seems almost unbearable?
This is where anti-itch creams come in. They contain certain ingredients that help to calm the itching sensation, making it much easier to resist scratching or rubbing at your skin.
Which ingredients should you be looking out for?
These are some of the most effective when it comes to reducing an itch:
- Hydrocortisone – this is a steroid that reduces itching by decreasing inflammation. It is great for itchy rashes too, but make sure that you don’t use this ingredient for more than two weeks straight, as one of its side effects is thinning the skin, making it even more prone to itching
- Calamine – this is a medication made by combining ferric oxide with zinc oxide, and has been used as far back as 1500 BC. Not only does it calm the itching sensation, but it also dries out any blistered rashes, bites and stings
- Diphenhydramine – this is an antihistamine that basically blocks the itch-causing histamines being released in your body
- Menthol – this ingredient works in a unique way by sending cooling sensations to the brain, which then distracts you from the itching
Keep the Affected Area of Skin Covered
If you aren’t quite sure what has caused the allergic reaction in your skin, or even if you know what has caused it but aren’t able to stay away from it, it is so important for you to keep the affected area of skin covered.
Because this will prevent any more allergens from coming into contact with your skin and making your reaction even worse.
Keeping it covered also discourages you from scratching or rubbing at your skin and exacerbating your symptoms and contaminating the area with bacteria.
What should you use to cover your skin?
Anything that is soft and breathable. Avoid any abrasive materials, as these will only cause friction on your skin and heighten your symptoms.
Use Infused Tissues for Your Nose
One of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction is a constantly-running nose, resulting in you reaching for the tissues every few minutes. All of this nose-blowing and rubbing may be necessary, but can end up leaving the skin around your nose red, sore and inflamed.
Infused tissues contain ingredients that help to provide your skin with moisture, rather than absorbing all of the moisture from your skin in the way that other tissues would do.
What are these tissues actually infused with?
It varies, but common ingredients include vitamin E and aloe vera, both of which are known for being able to heal, soften and nourish the skin.
Take An Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal contains several biologically active compounds that can help the skin, and has been used for this purpose since ancient Roman times.
Wondering if you can use the oats that you have in your kitchen cupboard?
No, you are best off using colloidal oatmeal. This is oatmeal that has been finely ground and processed, so that its molecules are small enough to have an effect on the skin. Of course, you can always make this yourself using standard oats, simply placing them into a food processor or blender to turn them into a fine powder.
What does it actually do?
Research shows that colloidal oatmeal is able to bind to the skin and form a protective barrier over the top of it, thanks to its sugars and fats. This not only protects the skin from any allergens, but also soothes the skin.
Not only that, but oatmeal is also anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties, both of which can help to keep the skin happy and calm.
How do you actually prepare a colloidal oatmeal bath?
Simply sprinkle some colloidal oatmeal into your bathwater as you are filling it, making sure to use water as cool as you can handle, since heat will only aggravate your skin even more. The recommended amount of oatmeal to use is around one cup for a standard-sized bath.
Once you get into the bath, you will notice that the water feels quite silky against your skin.
How long should you soak for?
No longer than 15 minutes, as anything more than this will only dry out your skin and exacerbate any allergic reactions.
Use A Thick Moisturizer
Allergy-prone skin usually has a damaged skin barrier, which is why the allergens are entering into the skin so easily and triggering a reaction.
This barrier sits on the outermost layer of your skin, and is designed to keep unwanted particles out, while also keeping moisture in.
A thick moisturizer basically mimics these functions, providing the skin with a temporary layer of protection. The thicker the moisturizer you use, the thicker this layer will be, which is why those with allergy-prone skin should opt for a formula that is rich and greasy.
Wondering if there are any particular ingredients that you should be looking out for in a moisturizer?
Yes, keep an eye out for the following:
- Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, to draw moisture from the air into the skin, plumping up its protective barrier
- Occlusives, such as beeswax, to form a physical seal between your skin and the environment
- Sebum-identical ingredients such as squalane and jojoba oil, to nourish and condition your skin
- Triglycerides, such as castor seed oil, to moisturize the skin
For even more benefits, make sure that you are applying your moisturizer to damp skin.
Because this means that there will already be water molecules on the surface of your skin, and your moisturizer will be able to form a seal around this. This prevents the extra water from evaporating, which it otherwise would have, and sends it down into your skin instead, giving you some extra hydration.
Stay Away from Skin-Aggravating Ingredients
Even if your allergies come from sources other than your skin care products, there are certain ingredients that are commonly used that can exacerbate your symptoms.
Usually because of the dryness they cause, due to the way in which they strip your skin of its natural oils. These oils work to protect the skin from allergens, bacteria and more, meaning that a loss of these will cause your skin to suffer.
Which ingredients should you be staying away from?
Here are a few to avoid:
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) – these ingredients cause certain products, such as cleansers and shampoos, to form a foam, but can severely disrupt the protective layer on your skin that keeps allergens out
- Fragrance – an artificial fragrance could contain hundreds of different ingredients, so you can never be quite sure as to what is in a product containing a fragrance
- Parabens – a common preservative known to exacerbate allergy-prone skin
- Essential Oils – people believe that these are great, due to the fact that they have come from plants, but many essential oils, from citrus to mint, can actually cause skin irritations, especially if they have been used at a high concentration
- Alcohol – dries the skin out, increasing itching and redness
Gently Pat A Soothing Eye Gel Around Your Eyes
Allergies can lead to a number of different problems in the skin around the eyes, with everything from puffiness to dark circles to redness making an appearance.
Since your eyes are such a prominent feature, you likely want to minimize these symptoms and soothe your skin as quickly as possible.
How can you do this?
One way is by applying a soothing eye gel to the skin around your eyes. Make sure that the one you opt for contains anti-inflammatory ingredients to target the redness, such as chamomile, as well as ingredients to minimize puffiness and dark circles, such as caffeine.
When it comes to applying this gel, make sure that you gently pat it into your skin with your ring finger, rather than rubbing it in.
Because rubbing only tugs and stretches the skin, which won’t do your symptoms any favors. Patting it in is not only more gentle, but also enhances the rate at which the product is absorbed by your skin.
For some instant relief for itchy eyes?
Try keeping your eye gel in the fridge. The cool temperature of the product when you apply it will be an added bonus thanks to the way in which it will provide some instant relief from itching and inflammation.
As always, make sure that you check the ingredient list of your eye gel first, ensuring that it doesn’t contain any ingredients that will exacerbate your allergies.
Apply A Cold Tea Compress to Affected Areas
Tea is often recommended when making a cold compress for the skin, but do you know why this is?
It is due to the tannins within the tea, which have a few different effects:
- Kills any bacteria on the skin
- Acts as an astringent to reduce any swelling, shrinking swollen tissue
- Stops any bleeding
- Relieves inflammation and itching
Never made a cold tea compress before?
Simply brew yourself some strong tea and then place this into the refrigerator to cool. Take a clean piece of fabric and soak this in the tea, before squeezing out any excess liquid. Place this over the affected area of skin and then sit back and leave the tea to work its magic.
Give A Cooling Sheet Mask A Try
If your entire face is feeling red and inflamed after a day of dealing with allergies, a cooling face mask may be just what you need in order to calm your skin back down.
These will contain ingredients such as aloe vera, oat extracts, cucumber extract and more, all of which will help to soothe your skin.
Of course, you do have to be careful when using face masks on allergy-prone skin.
Because you need to make sure that the ingredients within them aren’t going to make your skin any worse. Take a look at the ingredients list to ensure that you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients used in the formula, and stay away from any skin-aggravating ingredients, which will be discussed in more detail below.
Invest In An Air Purifier
If your skin allergies tend to flare up while you are sleeping, it may be worth investing in an air purifier, especially since this means that you may be able to finally enjoy better sleep.
What does an air purifier do?
It basically cleans the air by removing any allergens, pollutants, smoke and other unwanted particles from the air.
Some models go even further, and report on the allergens that they have captured, enabling you to take the steps necessary to clear these from the air in your home.
It can definitely be tough to care for allergy-prone skin, especially if you have a number of different allergens. Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can soothe your skin and calm any flare-ups, while also boosting the health of your skin to reduce the severity of any reactions you may have in the future.