Tag Archives: Allergy

Spring And Pollen Are In The Air

Spring has sprung, and so has your post nasal drip. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and while most look for love, your primary goal is to find a good decongestant. While your friends talk of vacation plans, you long for antihistamines. At this rate, you’ll be the first in your crowd to attend spring break in a face mask.

Although spring is a beautiful time of year, its also the time that plants release pollen, and millions start to sneeze and sniffle. If those millions include you, here are some things you might want to know about controlling spring allergies.

Woman and child sneezing

Pollen
When it comes to springtime allergy triggers, pollens takes first place. Trees, weeds, and grasses release tiny grain of the stuff into the air, and when they get into the nose of someone who suffers from allergies, the body’s immune system gets out of control.

The body’s natural defense system sees pollen as hazardous and releases antibodies to attack it. This triggers the release of histamines into the blood. Histamines are the chemicals are the causes of the itchy eyes, runny noses, and other common allergy symptoms.

Pollen count is highest on breezy days, when the wind carries the allergens through the air, whilst rain tends to wash them away, lowering the count.

Symptoms
Watering and itching eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and dark circles around the eyes are all common indicators of allergies.

Allergy Treatments
Although there is no cure for allergies, there are medicines that can ease the symptoms.

Antihistamines work to decrease sneezing, itching, and sniffling by reducing the amount of histamine in the body.

Woman scratching skin

Decongestants shrink blood vessels in the nasal cavities to relieve swelling and congestion.

Nasal spray decongestants work on clogged nasal passageways to relieve congestion faster than oral decongestants, without many of the side effects.

Steroid Nasal sprays are a preferred treatment, but only three, Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort, are available over the counter.

Eye drops can be helpful in the relief of itchy, watery eyes.

Even though many allergy remedies are available over the counter, you may want to consider consulting a doctor to make sure you choose the right one. He may be able to recommend allergy shots, prescription medication, immunotherapy tablets, or steroid nasal sprays. Be aware that some antihistamines can make you feel drowsy.

Natural Allergy Relief
If you prefer your allergy relief organic, here are some options:

Butterbar is an herb which has shown allergy relief potential. Some studies show an extract called Ze 3339 to work as well as antihistamines when it comes to allergy relief.

Woman holding head

Quercitin has been shown in research to prevent the release of histamines. It is found in apples, onions, and black tea.

Nasal Irrigation Involves a a quarter teaspoon each of salt and baking soda combined with sterile or boiled water to clear sinus passages. A squeeze bottle or neti pot can be used for nasal irrigation.

Tips For Keeping Pollen Contact Low

  • Stay indoors when pollen count is high, usually in the morning.
  • Keep windows and doors closed in the spring. An air purifier may come in handy.
  • Keep air filters in your home clean and make sure bookshelves and vents are free of pollen.
  • Wash your hair after venturing outdoors.
  • Vacuum twice weekly, wearing a mask to avoid the kick up of pollen, dust, and mold trapped in your carpet.

Let us know how you deal with the high spring pollen count! Good luck and a great symptom free spring!

Tips for Controlling Common Skin Conditions

Dr. William’s Pink Pills For Pale People,” “Dr.Scott’s Electric Corsets and Belts, “Dr. Ayer’s Pectoral Plaster,” “Dr. Watson’s Worm Syrup.” It seems like, since time immemorial, there have been people ready to cash in on the belief that “for every problem, there is a solution.” However, attractive as it the phrase may sound, unfortunately it is not always true, and skin conditions are no exception. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make to make them better. Here is some expert advice on how you can handle some common skin conditions under control.

Under-eye bags

Under-Eye Bags
Under-eye bags are the result of fat that gathers in the lower eyelids, and become more prominent with age. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, gravity, loss of collagen, and genetic factors are all responsible for the these pillow like protrusions, and the bad news is, they cannot be permanently eliminated and masks and eye creams usually don’t help. However, there are ways of minimizing the puffiness.

According to Lortsher, “proper head elevation during sleep, sleep itself, and decreased dietary ingestion of salt and alcohol are simple lifestyle changes that can help.” He adds, “Topical creams can also reduce swelling.” If more intense treatments are an option, the doctor allows that, “Surgical correction or blepharoplasty can lead to a semi-permanent solution. But, remember, with age and volume loss the under-eye bags can reappear.”

Melasma
Melasma is characterized by dark facial pigmentation. It is triggered by sun exposure, hormone treatments and pregnancy and may last for decades. While melasma research is still ongoing, topical treatments, such as the prescription medication Tri-Luma, are looming on the horizon and experts recommend sun avoidance and protection to keep the condition to a minimum.

Dermatologist checking skin

Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when the tissue below your skin, called the dermis, tears after being stretched by rapid growth or weight gain. Lortscher explains that, “Stretch marks are difficult to treat because they are actually scars,” and, like most scars, may fade with time, but never fully disappear. But there is hope.

Lortscher says cosmetic fractionated layers offer the “best hope at improving the depressed and thinned texture of the skin and topical tretinoin may help to some extent through its collagen stimulating effect.”

Rosacea
Rosacea is the general term used to refer to the appearance of redness of the face, small, acne like bumps and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea affects the capillaries under the skin surface and, “As you might imagine,” Lortscher says, “there is no topical treatment that will remove these little blood vessels.”

Although rosacea is not completely curable, there are several ways to manage it. One way is to avoid triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, stress, and hot showers. Redness can also be decreased by using topical products containing metronidazole, tacrolimus, azelaic acid, and glycol acid.

Woman scratching her arm

Eczema
A catch all phrase applied to most skin inflammation, eczema can be caused by almost anything from stress to food allergies. Although not curable, eczema is easily controllable with topical antibiotics, emollients and steroids.

Keratosis Pilaris
About 50% of the population suffers from the genetic acne- like skin condition known as keratosis pillars. KP is usually found on the thighs and upper arms and consists of dry, rough bumps resulting from the accumulation of dead skin cells, and, as Lortscher says, is,”incurable and persistent, even with treatment.”

Thankfully, alpha hydroxy acids are helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells and allowing them to shed, so glycolic and lactic acids can be effective, as can coconut oil, although coconut oil should not be used on the face. More good news: the condition also tends to go away when the sufferer reaches his or her late 20’s or early 30’s.

Allergies and Clear Skin

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring puffy, itchy and watery eyes, constantly runny noses and the inability to stop sneezing. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year. Also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies can be majorly uncomfortable to deal with and in some instances, they can wreak havoc on your skin as well. If you suffer from seasonal allergies that cause your skin to be problematic, try the three tips below to both deal with allergies and to keep your skin clear.

Woman sneezing

Treat Allergies
If you want your clear skin back, you will need to treat your allergies properly. “Seasonal allergies cause the skin to swell and take on a yellowish hue due to the seepage of serum from the bloodstream into the skin. As a result, your eyes can become puffy, and, in some cases, skin can become red and flaky,” says Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD Ph.D., director of Dermatology and Laser Surgery Private Practice in New York City, New York. “Seasonal allergies are due to pollen, which becomes airborne in spring and summer, so it can affect any part of the body, including the skin. I recommend allergy sufferers take quercetin as an herbal remedy or Allegra as an antihistamine to relieve symptoms.”

Care for Your Skin
When seasonal allergies make your skin red and flaky, you need to treat your skin gently because irritating products or ingredients will only cause further damage to your skin. “When your skin is (i.e. red and flaky), you can develop reactions to topical cosmetic ingredients, so you’ll need to focus on building up the skin barrier. I’d recommend seeing your dermatologist; I’ve found that a prescription to EpiCeram as a barrier builder to be particularly effective,” says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. You want to be sure that you are using products that contain ingredients that restore, repair and strengthen your skin’s natural barrier. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalene and ceramides to give your barrier a boost and restore your clear skin. “If you suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend that you avoid products that contain fragrances and/or toxic preservatives such as parabens and/or propylene glycol. These are high on the list of allergens that can irritate your skin,” advises Alexiades-Armenakas.

blueberries

Eat Well
In addition to treating your allergies and repairing your skin’s barrier, eating foods that promote clear skin can help to keep your skin healthy and happy. Wellness expert, Dr. Frank Lipman, says “sugar, dairy and gluten are the biggest foods that affect skin,” and urges those seeking clear skin to significantly reduce or eliminate these foods from their diets. Instead, he says that “avocados, kale, walnuts (or nuts), wild salmon, blueberries – all the superfoods…” are the foods you want to include in your clear skin diet.

Allergies are annoying and uncomfortable, more so when they target your skin. By treating your allergies with the proper medications, you can reduce the amount of damage seasonal allergies do to your skin. Focus on eating well and using skin care products and ingredients that calm irritated skin and repair your moisture barrier to keep your skin clear during allergy season.