Indian Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Skin AllergyDr. Surya Bhagwati
The human immune system is well equipped to fight pathogenic organisms like bacteria and viruses. However, an oversensitive immune system could turn its defences against seemingly harmless substances causing an allergic reaction. Most of these reactions manifest in the form of rashes and itchy skin, which can drive one crazy. There are different types of skin allergies, such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, hives or urticaria, swelling or angioedema, and so on. While the first rule is to avoid scratching, that’s easier said that done. Conventional treatments typically include the use of corticosteroid creams and antihistamines, which can provide quick relief. However, pharmaceutical products come with their own set of side effects, making natural treatments for skin allergies preferable. When it comes to home remedies for skin allergy conditions, Ayurveda is one of the best sources of information, featuring a collection of tried and tested remedies.
Home remedies for Skin Allergy
- Cooling the Itch –The fastest as well as easiest way to stop the pain and itch of a rash is by cooling it. This can be done by taking a cold shower, applying a damp cloth or cold compress over the affected area or by using any ointment containing menthol. Menthol from mint leaves has also been found to activate the same cold sensors although it doesn’t actually lower skin temperature. This can bring immediate relief as it reduces swelling, eases itching and slows the progression of a rash. Cold causes the blood vessels to shrink, thereby limiting blood flow to an inflamed area limiting the impact of histamines. This helps reduce the severity and duration of skin irritation from the allergic reaction.
- Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is safe and gentle on inflamed skin and you can use it as a natural moisturizer on the affected areas of skin, whether over your body or the scalp. Virgin (unprocessed) coconut oil is best choice because it retains its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The medium-chain fatty acids in virgin coconut oil have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. A clinical trial in 2004 found that it improved skin hydration and surface lipid levels in people with dry, scaly, itchy skin (xerosis), and atopic dermatitis, among other conditions. It is also an effective agent in wound healing.
- Oatmeal Bath – Oats (avena sativa) has been used over the years to treat many skin conditions from eczema to burns. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant in 2003. Colloidal oatmeal dissolved in a bath can relieve itchiness and reduce inflammation. It contains anti-inflammatory substances such as linoleic oil, oleic acid, and avenanthramides, making it so effective. These substances reduce the body’s level of cytokines proteins secreted by cells that can otherwise cause inflammation, which results skin itchiness, dryness and roughness.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe is one of the most popular and widely used herbal ingredients in natural skin care products. In addition to wound healing properties, aloe exhibits anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. The clear gel visible when you cut the leaf can be used to soothe itchy and irritated skin. It’s best to wash and dry the affected area before application to enable maximum absorption. Aloe contains vitamin B-12, calcium, magnesium, zinc; vitamins A, C, E, essential fatty acids, enzymes, carbohydrates and sterols, which contribute to its anti-inflammatory effects. When using raw aloe, there is a risk of allergic reaction, so it is best to do a small patch test on the skin before use.
- Haldi – Haldi, also known to much of the world as turmeric, is a staple Ayurvedic ingredient in almost all skin care treatments. It is so highly regarded because of its gentle and soothing effects. The yellow spice works as both a healing and beautifying agent as it serves as a natural antiseptic to disinfect wounds, fights bacterial infections, and promotes wound healing. At the same time, studies have found that it even has a skin lightening effect, restoring a natural glow, giving you one more reason to use this natural ingredient. Turmeric is also known to protect against sunburn, skin allergies, and psoriasis.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an old remedy for itchy skin, rashes, poison ivy, or bug bites. Baking soda acts as a buffer in stabilising acid-alkali levels by putting the skin’s pH into balance. In addition to soothing inflamed skin, baking soda is also known to fight fungal skin infections.
- Neem – No matter where in India you might live, neem has been the go-to remedy for most skin ailments for ages. It is widely used as a home remedy to relieve itching even from infections like chickenpox and is just as effective at relieving inflammation and hives produced by allergic skin reactions. Neem is frequently added as a primary ingredient in Ayurvedic skin care products and medications because of potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, with some research even suggesting that it contains antihistamine properties.
When it comes to curing skin allergies, the most important thing you can do is to identify the trigger for such allergies. This can be time consuming and sometimes futile, so it makes sense to turn to age old remedies and Ayurvedic herbal medicines for skin to get some quick relief in the meantime. It would also be a good idea to avoid using cosmetic products that contain harsh chemicals, instead opting for natural herbal skin care products.
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