Hi there, My Beautiful People!!
Today’s post is bit of a personal one. Less than a week ago, I had a severe food allergy which I was not aware of until my GP diagnosed it. It was my second encounter with a food allergy since I was 4 years old. Obviously, I have no recollection of what was the allergic reaction from and how was it treated back then.
I will not go too much into the details except that I will have to make sure of steering away from that food item and will have to undergo an allergy test to rule out other food items from the similar category.
The first signs of the reaction were rashes all over my hands and legs and in localised areas on my torso. My face was swollen and there was redness around my nose and forehead. It graduated towards being extremely painful and my hands were swollen and bumpy. The heels of my feet were swollen to the extent that I could not walk even few steps without severe pain.
It was not an easy task trying to take pictures of my swollen face and legs, but to keep a track of the recovery, I did take some pictures of my hands.
The reaction flared up last Friday and it has almost settled down. Apart from mild redness, thankfully I have recovered.
I am sure, everyone of you must have gone through some kind of a skin allergy or irritation after a dermatological procedure that required attention and lots of TLC.
My intention towards writing this post is not about giving medical advice, but sharing my experiences and some of the products that have helped me pass through the situation with much ease.
Along with medication, doctors always prescribe a medical strength ointment/cream for localised skin irritation. These creams are steroids specifically hydrocortisone ranging from 0.5% – 2.5% usually.
Although, very effective, these creams are best either used for short term or completely avoided. There are, however, some inevitable cases when someone can not cope with the irritation without the use of steroid creams. They do have their fair share of side effects if used long term and doctors too know that, but they have a great efficiency in calming down the inflammation from many skin irritations.
But, I decided to use steroid free creams despite the requirement. This is a personal choice and I am not suggesting that you do not follow doctor’s prescription.
Few things I knew I had to strictly follow while taking care of the urticaria were;
1) Avoiding sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. I do not have to even specify why it is best not to go out in the sun during these wee hours.
2) Going completely fragrance free with whatever that came in contact with my skin. This included body washes, face washes, face moisturisers and even sunscreen.
Fragranced products may include natural or artificial fragrances, but a compromised skin barrier will benefit and will be able to heal faster if any perfumed product is restricted. In short, a compromised skin barrier is the epidermal (top layer) of the skin that has been stripped of its natural oils and moisture and has residual inflammation that makes it vulnerable to pollution, friction, hot and cold temperatures to name a few.
3) Reducing the amount of sugar, salt and oily food that can go a long way to reduce the inflammation internally which in turn helps externally.
4) Stopping the use of the ever so popular and my loved bath and body works hand washes and hand sanitisers. Although, not entirely avoidable, I tried to use sanitiser only while using public transport and restrooms. I could not find a completely fragrance free hand wash in such a short time, so I chose to purchase this Jergens Extra Moisturising Hand Wash 10USD/ 7.7GBP/ 670INR It is cream based and very lightly scented.
5) Showering for not more than 15 minutes using warm water only.
Apart from the above mentioned steps, I also used two skincare products in particular.
The first one is La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 15ML/40ML/100ML 8USD-23USD
It is a specifically formulated cream for skin irritations. La Roche Posay is a brand among other French skincare brands that offer exceptional products for dry and sensitive skin types. As a whole, it is a really good brand to try, but today I will focus on one particular product. Cicaplast is a range of La Roche Posay that has products to reduce the irritation caused by many factors without the presence of any steroids.
The hero ingredient used is Madecassoside that is derived from a current in-trend in the western industry plant Centella Asiatica. It is prevalent in Asia since many years and used for many healing properties. It has anti inflammatory, anti ageing, antibacterial and skin soothing properties. It normalises the highly desquamation (shedding of dead skin cells) process that helps in other skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Another ingredient used is Panthenol, also called as Vitamin B5. It is a humectant that attracts moisture and helps seal it in the skin. It is an ingredient used to provide oil free moisture that is suitable for all skin types. Apart from Panthenol and Madecassoside, Cicaplast Baume B5 also contains shea butter, glycerin and minerals like zinc, copper and manganese. Together, these ingredients help heal the skin and strengthen its barrier to prevent further irritation. It is fragrance free and paraben free, which is always a plus for sensitive skin.
I applied a thin layer every few hours gently spreading the product without trying to rub it in to avoid any friction. As claimed, it is very light weight and non greasy and does not make the facial skin oily. I immediately felt that the burning and itching sensation repressed in a matter of minutes. The bumpy rashes also seemed to settle and the skin looked smoother in 2-3 days. It is safe to use on infants and lips.
With the weather getting colder, I found that Cicaplast was not enough to provide sufficient moisturisation and the irritation made my skin even drier than usual. I ordered another lotion for this concern, but it was taking longer than expected to be delivered. I realised, I had a tube of Avene Trixera+ Emollient Cream 200 ML 29USD/11.50GBP/1200INR from sometime ago. It is again a fragrance and paraben free formula. It is a runny lotion but extremely moisturising. In fact, it can get greasy if too much product is applied. As suggested, it is one of those rich moisturisers that an extremely dry skin is in need of. It is formulated with coconut oil, soybean oil, evening primrose oils that are rich moisturisers and strengthen the skin’s barrier along with glycine that soothes itching and flakiness. I did not apply this on my face with a fear of breaking out, but the intense moisturisation really helped my skin return back to normal in a matter of days. Due to its gentle and sensitive skin friendly ingredients, it can be used on infants as well.
I know resorting to gentler versions of topical skin treatment can take little longer than prescription strength ointments, but I felt much relaxed knowing that I am putting something on my skin that will not cause any side effects. I could have tried much natural options, but due to the possible side effects of active ingredients, I did not feel like it was the right time to experiment with my already hyperactive skin.
So, this was just a small chunk of my experience with a sudden and unexpected food allergy. Have you ever had a severe skin allergy?? How did you cope with it? I will be pleased to know about your experiences.
Thank you for reading and your support. I will see you all very soon!
Take Care ..GOOD LUCK😊✨