Allergy Awareness Combat Allergies & Sensitive Skin

May 3, 2023 | Body, Health, Nutrition, Skin Care

My Allergy Story

Having suffered with allergies to wool, pollen, certain plants, dust, pets, horses, certain chemicals and skincare ingredients, to name but a few, all of my life, I have a real interest in this topic.

20 years ago, in my mid-thirties, I had the most terrifying allergic response after eating a single segment of orange, which I had eaten during all my previous years. The allergic reaction slowly caused intense swelling all over my body, where lifesaving emergency medical intervention had to be administered. I remained in hospital for a further month receiving intravenous medication. My body had become allergic to anything I tried to eat or even touch. Gradually, I was able to tolerate white foods and could be released.

I receive immunology care for several years from a remarkable, mature medical expert, who shared his many years of knowledge and passion about the immune system. He explained that the triggers, such as immense stress, becoming a single mum, running a business, emotional and physical exhaustion, combined with my allergic pre disposition, had caused a dysfunction of the immune system, raising my histamine to catastrophically high levels.

During those years the skin prick test established foods I could tolerate. I was then advised to add each food into my diet for a few days, to monitor if there were any reactions, then to add another, and on through the list of foods. I hated the side effects of the medication, so decided to replace this with a new approach to lifestyle and healthy diet.

Despite a horrendous experience, there was a silver lining. In a way I feel privileged to have had this personal experience, which served to help me to really understand my own bodily reactions. It was also a great opportunity to learn about inflammatory skin complaints, where I could better serve the clients in my clinical skincare practice.

I also learned that my digestive complaints, which I had always thought were allergies, were not. In fact they were intolerances, the difference being that allergies activate an immune response and intolerances activate digestive complaints.

Our bodies are so finely balanced and unique, they can be compromised by environmental and psychological stresses, and any-one can develop specific allergies at any time of their lives. It goes without saying I have not touched an orange since. I carry an EpiPen and a 0.05 % hydro cortisol cream as an emergency safeguard. Eating out is always a challenge, but it is great that there is now so much allergy awareness and thus improved resources about where to find better food and dining options. I aim to eat a healthy balanced, anti-inflammatory, gut health diet to support my immune and digestive system. I swim regularly, and practice yoga and mindfulness daily to keep those stress hormones at bay. I do love walks in nature, as challenging as they can be, but taking supplements and natural remedies have really played a supportive role in reducing allergen response attacks.

What Are Allergies?

Allergy disorders include allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever), atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema), allergic (or atopic) asthma and some food allergies. One of the most common allergic responses is hay fever, triggered by pollen from trees, flowers or grass. Whilst other familiar allergic responses are from animals, such as dogs, cats, or horses, where the shedding from skin and fur is the trigger, plus insect stings and certain medications. Another common allergy trigger can be certain foods, notably peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk and eggs. However, as in my case, anyone can be allergic to anything. Direct contact to mites, along with some materials such as wool, metals, chemicals, such as cleaning agents and skincare cosmetics, can be a trigger which can induce an adaptive immune response associated with local inflammation.

Allergen exposure triggers the immune system to release histamine and antibodies in the body, causing the onset of diverse allergic symptoms. These symptoms can range from sneezing and a blocked, itchy and runny nose as in hay fever, breathlessness, coughing and wheezing in acute asthma attacks, itchy skin, urticaria (hives), oedema, tenderness around the eyes and upper cheeks, gastrointestinal reactions such as vomiting and diarrhoea, swollen lips, eyes or mouth, or systemic anaphylaxis, which can be potentially fatal. These allergic symptoms can start within seconds or minutes of exposure to allergens.

Allergies are increasingly prevalent in the developed world. The number of people in the UK alone suffering from symptoms of at least one allergy appears to be constantly on the rise.

The Difference Between Allergy & Intolerance

A true food allergy will directly affect the immune system. It could be the slightest exposure to the allergen that can trigger the allergic symptoms from a slight skin rash, coughing or wheezing to severe situations or fatality.

In contrast, a food intolerance affects the digestive system and causes gastrointestinal distress symptoms, which include stomach bloating or cramps, even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea and diarrhoea.

Intolerances are not life threatening, albeit life debilitating.

Seek medical advice if you experience any of the symptoms listed.

Can Allergies Cause Sensitised Skin?

Chronic allergic responses can compromise the function of the immune system, which in turn effects the immune response and the stability of the skin balance.

Heightened psychological stress levels also effect the gut-skin axis and the immune response, thus the stability of the gut microbiome, known as ‘dysbiosis’, an imbalance of the bacteria in the gut and the skin.

These imbalances cause an overall pro-inflammatory effect on the skin, which becomes sensitised and can create red, swollen, or itchy symptoms. When an individual is particularly susceptible to allergies and inflammatory skin concerns with a lowered immune system, higher histamine levels tend to be present, thus intensifying any symptoms.

What Are The Best Treatments For Sensitive Skin?
We successfully revers the signs of a sensitive, irritated skin with our comprehensive range of technological treatments and product ingredients.

We aim to improve the condition and appearance of skin to promote a more, calm, soothed, hydrated, healthy skin.

Best Treatments For Sensitive Skin:

Skin Storm – 6 Elements
The technology draws on 6 elements of nature; oxygen, thunder, light and water to achieve dramatic results in the improvement of skin imperfections, fine lines, wrinkles, loss of skin tone and loss of skin volume.

An intense skin treatment that is only available due to the Oxy Ice and Phototherapy technology that creates a chilled, calm, de-stressed and healing environment throughout the skin.

Emporium Bespoke HydraFacial
This is an advanced customised combination of treatments specifically to suit you and your skin care needs, with focus on calming, de-stressing and hydration.

It improves all sensitive skin conditions, including dry, flaky, inflamed, red, and signs of a stressed skin, all of which involve symptoms of lack of moisture and skin dehydration.

Hylo-Fusion Oxygen Therapy

Breathe new life into your skin with our unique multi pressure Hylo-Fusion Oxygen Therapy treatment.

An air pressure device delivers the high-efficacy active FGF-10 hyaluronic ingredient exactly where it’s needed, energising the skin cells, promoting skin repair along with rehydrating the skin and creating a soothing effect from inside out.
The Oxygen Therapy provides an overall cooling, soothing, and refreshing experience to the skin.

Tri-Wave LED Phototherapy
LED Phototherapy is the leading, non-invasive treatment that harnesses the power of natural light for visibly refined, rejuvenated and calmer skin.

LED Phototherapy is suitable for all skin concerns, utilising the correct colour of light or infra-red to promote a specific treatment function such as repair, heal, rejuvenate and eradicate.

hay fever symptoms

How To Reduce Allergic Reactions

  • Avoid the thing you’re allergic to whenever possible
  • Avoid contact with nasty chemicals in cleaning agents
  • Select your skincare routine products carefully
  • Stock medicines antihistamines, steroid tablets and steroid creams in cases of mild allergic reactions
  • Carry an EpiPen in cases of severe allergic reactions
  • Adopt a healthy balanced diet
  • Cut out pro inflammatory foods such as sugar
  • Support your immune system
  • Support your gut health
  • Consider supplements & remedies

How To Prevent Pollen Rash

  • Wear a mask when near pollen
  • Stay indoors when grass is being mowed
  • Keep windows closed
  • If pollen attack occurs do not rub the skin, rinse area with cool water
  • Do not rub eyes, blink rapidly to dislodge the particle, apply soothing drops
  • Use balm infused tissues
  • Sooth tickling throat with elderberry spray

Viridian Guide To Aid Allergy Symptoms
 The information below has been provided by the Nutrition Support Team at Viridian Nutrition.

What Can Help Relieve Hay Fever & Allergies?
Don’t let symptoms like itchy eyes, runny noses and sinuses take over this hay fever season. Overcome your allergies with natural remedies that may help provide effective relief against irritating symptoms.

Apple Polyphenols
Polyphenols derived from apples have been reported to suppress histamine release from cells, reduce auricular swelling and alleviate skin inflammation. Apple polyphenols have been studied for their promising effects in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis – also known as hay fever. 

Allergic rhinitis typically causes sneezing and a blocked, itchy and runny nose. Hay fever symptoms can be severe and persistent, causing sleep problems and effecting day-to-day tasks. This condition occurs when an allergen such as pollen is inhaled by an individual with a sensitised immune system.
In a study of individuals with allergic rhinitis, significant improvements were observed in sneezing attacks and nasal discharge in a high-dose polyphenol group, and in sneezing attacks in a low-dose polyphenol group. Treatment with apple polyphenols was proven effective in improving symptoms of allergic rhinitis2, subsequently encouraging consideration that they can be listed among natural remedies for hay fever.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
These deep purple berries are native to Europe with an array of researched health benefits. They are a rich source of antioxidants, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, anthocyanins and flavonoids.

In addition, elderberries are an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that have been shown to provide relief to those who suffer with common symptoms associated with allergies. Scientific evidence suggests elderberries have proven to be useful by improving the function of mucous membranes.

It is suggested that elderberries contain high levels of vitamin C which have shown to act as a natural antihistamine, reducing the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. In a study, high dosage vitamin C reduced the severity of symptoms in patients with allergy-related respiration3.

Vitamin C
Fundamental to a variety of functions in the body, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that has been shown to act as a natural antihistamine. Therefore, vitamin C supplementation may promote allergy relief and reduction of symptoms.

Vitamin C may also suppress inflammation caused by allergic reactions, by increasing the function of immune cells. In a study conducted in South Korea, high vitamin C intake was associated with a reduced risk of hay fever symptoms in schoolchildren4.

Vitamin D
As vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, Public Health England recommends all adults and children to take a supplemental dose of 400IU per day. Also referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is critical in our immune system, due to its important role in modulating the immune response and reducing inflammation. Due to this effect, vitamin D is thought to reduce the severity of allergic reactions.

In the UK, lack of exposure to sunlight during the darker months from October to March can lead to vitamin D deficiency. Meanwhile, hay fever season can begin as early as February, reaching a series of peaks in pollen-release from March onwards. This risks an intersection between low vitamin D status but with high exposure to pollen in the early springtime.

Recent research has emerged about vitamin D in connection with allergic diseases. In a study, findings revealed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in children who suffer with asthma and allergic diseases, in comparison to healthy children5.

Black Seed
Utilized for thousands of years for its myriad of therapeutic benefits, black seed, either as the seed alone or oil derived from cold pressed seeds, is believed to ‘treat everything but death’ and traditional uses include natural remedies for hay fever. Black seed also known as Nigella sativa, a small plant with blue or white flowers, native to Western Asia. Nigella seed are small black seeds with a pungent flavour.

Bursting with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory active ingredients such as thymoquinone, black seed supplementation may reduce the severity and duration of hay fever symptoms. In a promising trial conducted on hay fever sufferers, supplementation with 0.5ml of black seed oil for 30 days resulted in a marked reduction of nasal congestion, itching and sneezing6.

Nettle Leaf
Accidentally brushing your leg against a stinging nettle is a painful and unfortunate encounter. However, oral administration of the nettle leaf may pose major health benefits, according to scientific research. It is suggested that nettle leaf contains therapeutic active compounds that may relieve inflammation and allergies when taken orally. In a trial conducted on 98 individuals suffering from hay fever, nettle supplementation supported the relief of allergic symptoms and nasal congestion7.

A naturally occurring bioflavonoid, quercetin can be found in a variety of plant sources, including onions, broccoli, peppers, apples, berries grapes, herbs and some types of tea.

Quercetin is commonly used as a remedy to relieve seasonal allergies. It is suggested that quercetin may stabilize the release of histamines and therefore naturally reduce allergic symptoms. The anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin have been examined in numerous studies. Quercetin has anti-allergic functions that are known to inhibit the production and release of histamine and other allergic substances, possibly stabilising cell membranes of mast cells.

It is suggested that higher quercetin intake is associated with a decreased risk of asthma incidence, this was clear in subjects who consumed apples twice a week, suggesting a beneficial effect of apple flavonoids, especially quercetin8. 

Viridian Supplements are available at:
Emporium Treatment Clinic.

Visit our SHOP here.

Useful Reads
The Clear Skin Cookbook – The Medicinal Chef Dale Pinnock
Fuel Food Cookbook – Oliver McCabe
Food For Life – Tim Spector

Useful Watch
That Sugar Film – An Australian documentary

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

Author: Angela Taffinder the founder of Emporium Treatment Clinic. A practising Aesthetician for 35+ years, holistic and wellbeing advocate and yoga instructor.

: The information ‘Viridian Guide To Aid Allergy Symptoms’ has been provided by the Nutrition Support Team at Viridian Nutrition.


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