Spring happens to be my favourite season. We start to unfurl after a long winter and as the days grow longer more time is spent outdoors. In clinic however, we see that not all skin loves spring. In fact, it can be a very reactive time of year. As pollen counts rise, so does histamine for some which can cause quite sudden and upsetting consequences. Read on to find out how to manage your spring skin.
What is Histamine?
Histamine is a substance that is released to injured cells, and in allergic and inflammatory reactions.
Histamine is made in all of our body tissue, but especially in the gut, skin and lungs. It is produced by the immune system. Histamine not only regulates immune reactions, but also coordinates the various cells involved in an immune response.
If this system gets aggravated, it can send the immune system haywire and intent on attacking itself.
This is when we see skin expressions such as:
- Dry/flaky patches
- Increased sensitivity
This may be accompanied by symptoms of hay fever.
We must remember that the skin has it’s own immune system, and can launch an immune response when impaired or aggravated.
What aggravates the Skin?
Externally, if the skin barrier and protective structures and layers are compromised this will result in a leaky, permeable environment. A bit like a sieve. Without an intact barrier, the ever-ready immune cells will have no filter and will be constantly surprised and on red alert.
Using skin care, sunscreen and makeup that contains sensitising ingredients (fragrance, preservatives, surfactants, emulsifiers) will compromise the skin’s barrier defence systems and can even case a delayed type hypersensitivity allergic contact dermatitis.
A deficiency in Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) will also impair the strength of the cell membranes and must be used topically and internally for clients who have a history of asthma, eczema, dermatitis, hay fever and reactive/sensitive skin.
Top Spring Skin Tips
- Eliminate inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy & sugar
- Increase anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, ginger, papaya and pineapple
- Eliminate all products that contain sensitising ingredients
- Have a professional skin analysis
- Be patient, whilst the skin’s immune cells are hyper-reactive you must go slowly
- Using skin care with EFA’s such as linseed, kiwi seed and evening primrose oil (preferably in conjunction with phosphatidylcholine)
- Using immune regulating ingredients such as Vitamin B and Echinacea
- LED (Light Therapy) can help to calm a reactive skin safely. LED works by harnessing the skin cells ability to absorb light and transform it into energy that can stimulate healing. It also reduces the inflammatory response and helps to create a healthier, more appropriate immune system.
- If your immune system is in overdrive, you may need to work with a Naturopath on the internal factors such as:
- Gut & digestive imbalance
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Anti-inflammatory dietary protocol
In clinic, we find that a combination of therapies works well to reduce spring skin issues. Starting as soon as symptoms present is key.
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