One in four people suffer from allergic reactions. It is often our largest sensory organ which is affected: the skin! It itches, is covered with red pustules and is extremely sensitive to external influences. Maybe you suffer, your young child or your partner? People with allergies suffer from the burdensome side effects – and are often unsure what measures they should be taking. Many questions remain unanswered. However the right treatment can often help. We have a few tips for you!
What exactly are allergies?
Allergies are defensive reactions of the human immune system to certain substances, which the organism registers as foreign. These can be triggered by contact with the skin (so-called contact allergies) or the mucous membranes and also through oral ingestion. The cause is substances, also known as allergens, which exist in various forms in the environment, in foodstuffs, everyday objects and also cosmetics. Unsuitable care products, hair dyes and certain medications can trigger an allergic reaction just as easily as foodstuffs and jewelry (e.g. nickel). Furthermore our environment can cause allergies (pollen, sun).
Once the skin’s protective barrier is damaged, depending on the severity, the reactions can range from itchiness erythema, a dry scalp or papules. Those effected are usually severely limited in their quality of life because of these unpleasant and generally painful skin reactions or breathing difficulties.
An international recognized study (ISAAC: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) investigated approximately two million allergy sufferers and their living conditions in a total of 106 countries over a 20 year period. It emerged that children from industrial countries are more often subject to allergies than children from developing nations. Whereas in Albania a mere two percent of the population is affected, in English-speaking countries, which head up the ranking, it is 30 percent. Children from industrial countries come into contact with fewer germs and hence their immune system are less challenged and the consequence is a higher susceptibility. The earlier the immune system has to react, the lower the risk of allergies.
What is neuro-dermatitis?
Neuro-dermatitis – also known as atopic eczema – is a chronic, non-contagious skin disease. The underlying causes which trigger this disorder are still not entirely clear. In the worst cases the symptoms can already manifest themselves in new born babies. There seems to be a genetic predisposition for the development of neuro-dermatitis dictated by specific genes on various chromosomes: if both parents suffer from the same atopic disorder then their children have 60 – 80 percent probability of suffering from neuro-dermatitis. However, despite genetic predisposition, the illness will not necessarily be triggered. It has been established, that besides genetics there are additional causative factors – so-called “triggering factors”. Thus the development of neuro-dermatitis is more than just a question of genes, and is therefore influenceable.
Trigger factors for neuro-dermatitis
Certain situations can favor an outbreak or relapse of neuro-dermatitis. These are defined as trigger factors, and include:
- Certain foodstuffs
- animal hair
- house dust mites (excrement)
- preservatives, perfume
- ozone, chlorine
- stress, tension
Avoiding or containing such factors plays a major role in the treatment of neuro-dermatitis. It is, therefore, all the more important for those concerned that they identify the triggering factors which cause the outbreak and the fearful ever-worsening cycle of itchiness.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a non-contagious, inflammatory skin disorder. It is characterized by severely scaly patches of extremely itchy skin ranging from small spots to areas as large as the palm of your hand (typically on the knee, elbow or scalp). An estimated 125 million people worldwide and around two million in Germany suffer from this disorder. The causes for this have not yet been fully clarified. Similarly to neuro-dermatitis a genetic disposition in combination with favorable factors triggers the outbreak. The appearance of the psoriasis, however, would suggest a malfunction of the immune system, which certain parts of the skin register as foreign cells and react violently to. This can be triggered by contact with certain substances, could be hormonal or have something to do with personal circumstances.
What can be done?
More and more children suffer from excruciating itching and reddened or oozing skin. For parents this means: don’t waste time trying to guess what the cause could be. Instead go to your GP or pediatrician if it is eczema or you think it could be neuro-dermatitis. A patch test will help you find out which allergens you or your child react to. Get an allergy pass (download link) and avoid all allergens, i.e. all products which contain the substances listed in your allergy pass.
With the right treatment you can prevent relapses and spare your child medication. Apply care cream to your child’s whole body – if necessary more than once daily. Whoever has dry skin or neuro-dermatitis and is inclined to allergies probably has a damaged water-binding capacity in the skin. The skin becomes very rough and it is easier for bacteria and allergens to penetrate thereby worsening the skin’s condition. You know what comes next: itching increases, the child scratches more, the skin becomes more damaged and we find ourselves in the middle of a vicious circle.
What helps are baths with lipid regulating additives which supply the skin with oil whilst bathing. A whey bath can relieve the symptoms of itchy rashes, bran baths are mild and gently cleanse the skin.
A beneficial plant for all this suffering
Nature has produced yet another miracle plant: Heartseed or Cardiospermum halicacabum L, as it is known in Latin. It is a climber with balloon-like fruit containing small seeds which give the plant its common name: the so-called heartseed. The pea-sized, dark brown seeds with the distinctive heart-shaped white marking are the treasure trove of this medicinal plant. Their precious extract is anti-inflammatory, antipruritic and soothing. Furthermore it moisturizes and strengthens the skin’s natural protective barrier. It contains highly effective active ingredients such as saponins (triterpene glygosides), phytosteroles, flavonoids and halicaric acid and is considered to be a natural cortisone (phyto-cortisone).
contains heartseed extract and oat extract as well as cottonseed oil and almond oil. It cleanses mildly and gently and relaxes the skin. Redness is alleviated, itchiness reduced and the skin is well moisturized. You’ll feel great long after you finish showering: the gel is lipid-balancing and strengthens the skin’s barrier long-term.
regulates the hydro lipid content and protects against drying out. Your skin feels relaxed from the first application! Oat extract eases redness and soothes the skin, borage oil, rich in omega 6 fatty acids, relieves itchiness and babassu cools and soothes. The ideal care all year round!
Important, especially for children: if you are trying a new product, you need to test it first. Use it for a few days in succession on an affected skin area, e.g. elbow or the back of the knees. If there is an improvement and no allergic reaction, you can use it to treat the whole body.
Change down a gear
Changing to the right care product can be a huge relief to both you and your child. But sometimes it needs to be a bit more: adapt your lifestyle: stress is known to affect the skin. Give yourself a few hours off, take a walk, read a good book, spend an afternoon with your child. Sometimes less is more – especially for sensitive people. Don’t forget that the skin – including the scalp - is our largest sensory organ. Whatever is going on within our bodies, its effect will show in the condition of our skin and scalp.
We would literally like you to take the Swiss Allergy, Skin and Asthma Center. As the first line of products for allergy sufferers in Switzerland, the RAUSCH Heartseed line has been certified and awarded the official aha! Seal.. RAUSCH has developed this special care line in cooperation with the