Allergies in general are defined as hypersensitivity to some foreign particle or the other. Different people have different kinds of tolerances for foreign bodies. When some people cannot adjust with certain elements in their surroundings, they may suffer from certain skin problems that are commonly referred to as skin allergies.
There is a sure way of determining whether your skin affliction is an allergy or not. If you have got a skin problem due to a cause that has affected no one else, then it is an allergic reaction. For example, several people may be exposed to dust. But if it affects you in a strong way, then you are allergic to dust.
Skin allergies could be in the form of itching, dry and scaly skin, eruptions, rashes, boils, etc. There are three main types of problems that are associated with skin allergies. These types are as follows:-
(i) Dermatitis – This is the skin allergy which is caused due to contact with some substances. It is shown as an inflammation.
(ii) Hives – Hives is a fluid accumulation in the skin which shows up as a swelling. This is a temporary condition and heals with treatment. Hives are also known as urticaria.
(iii) Prickly Heat – This is a red rash which occurs on the body. Prickly heat is generally caused due to excessive perspiration due to hot and humid climates.
All skin problems are vata dosha disorders. Vata dosha controls the air element of the human body. Hence, when the vata dosha is vitiated, there are skin reactions. In different people, there are different degrees of the vata dosha. In some people, the vata may be weak and get easily vitiated due to external factors. Such people are more specific to skin allergies than others.
In this article, we see how to treat various skin allergies with an Ayurvedic point of view.
Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Skin Allergies
- Cassia (Cassia fistula)
- Cassia is used effectively in the treatment of several irritations on the skin caused due to allergies. A paste of the cassia leaves can be applied on the skin in case of inflammation of the hands and feet caused due to extreme cold, and also swellings caused due to accumulation of fluids under the skin, as in hives.
- Henna (Lawsonia inermis)
- Henna is an excellent remedy for several skin allergies. It can be used in case of hives, swellings, boils and other kinds of inflammation. Applying henna on the skin cools the skin and removes the symptom of the allergy.
- Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
- The holy basil is venerated in Indian tradition as the tulsi. It has an almost maternal status for the Hindus. This plant is venerated for its many medicinal properties. Among the other advantages, tulsi is also used for healing skin problems. In case of itches and rashes, the juice of the tulsi leaves is applied on the skin. This is a very quick treatment for allergic skin problems.
- Madhuca (Madhuca indica)
- Madhuca is used as a treatment for skin itch problems. The leaves are made into a paste and applied onto the skin in skin infections due to allergy.
- Rauwolfia (Rauwolfia serpentina)
- Rauwolfia is known as sarpagandha in Ayurveda. It is a very good remedy for skin problems. In case of hives, the juice of its leaves is applied on the swollen parts to reduce itching. Relief is almost immediate.
- Sandalwood (Santalum alba)
- Sandalwood is a traditional remedy for all kinds of itch problems on the skin. It is made into a paste and applied on the skin. It smoothes the skin and prevents it from allergies. Itches are immediately resolved by applying sandalwood paste on the skin. Permanent relief can be obtained by keeping the paste smeared on the skin for half an hour before washing it off. Sandalwood oil is also used in the treatment of diseases such as erysipelas (an eruptive allergic skin disease) and prurigo (an itchy skin eruption).
Dietary Guidelines for Treatment of Skin Allergies
You must take a lot of water to prevent all kinds of skin allergies. These include fresh fruits and vegetables that have high water content in them. In the summer season, take cooling drinks such as lemon juices and sherbets.
Do not consume sour foods if you have skin allergy problems often. This can vitiate the vata dosha further.
Home Remedies for Treatment of Skin Allergies
- Take about 30 milliliters of the juice of the leaves of wood apple (Feronia limonida) and mix some cumin powder in it. Take this twice daily. This is a very good treatment for urticaria or hives.
- Extract the juice of the jambula (Indian Plum) and mix some soda in it. Apply this in case of prickly heat.
- In hot seasons, drink a glass of lemon juice twice everyday. This will supplement the vitamin C content of the body lost due to perspiration and will prevent the outburst of prickly heat.
- Chomping on sugarcane several times in the hot season is also a good method of preventing prickly heat.
- If the area on the skin is exceptionally itchy, then mash a papaya and spread the paste of the papaya on it. This will reduce the itch and also make the skin healthier.