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  • Spring Skin: The Seasonal Change that Can Come with an Itch!

    Being a native South African, I can honestly say that I’ve currently come through one of the longest, most severe Canadian winters of my entire life. Having survived through -27 C, months of endless grey skies and snow storms, I am nearly at the point of jumping out of my skin at the mere thought of Spring and its promise of blue skies and brightly colored blossoms!

    However, the thought of Spring can leave some less fortunate individuals with a dreaded promise of an ensuing runny nose; red, puffy eyes and itchy, sensitive skin.

    In Spring, the skin is exposed to invisible airborne allergens, such as pollen, which in some individuals can lead to release of histamine, a neurotransmitter that dilates blood vessels and leads to inflammation. Higher levels of histamine can lead to the skin being more reactive and can even trigger eczema and allergies. The most readily effected areas for this to occur on the face are on the cheek and the skin surrounding the eye.

    Due to climate change, experts are predicting a worse-than-average spring allergy season and expect the situation to escalate as time goes on. The reason being that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen, which increases the release of allergen levels such as pollen and types of fungal growth, such as mold, and the spores they release.

    As professional skin therapists we need to be armed with a few handy tips that we can provide to our clients as part of a prevention plan:

    Reduce Stress Levels
    Stress has been found to actually make your response to allergens worse. Offer a 15 min back massage as an add-on to an anti-inflammatory skin treatment and market it as a “Spring Skin Program.”

    Change Up Your Routine
    If you tend to be someone who experiences some of the symptoms of “Spring Skin” then you may need to consider temporarily switching to a 4 week skin care program that can actively target skin inflammation, puffiness and irritation while repairing the barrier function of the skin. Once your skin is healed and all your symptoms are gone, it’s more than likely that you’ll be able to revert back to your normal home care program.

    Ingredients to look for in your “Spring Skin Care” program should include Avena Sativa, which is proven to have natural anti-irritant and anti-redness properties, and Red Hogweed Root Extract, another amazing ingredient that targets inflammation by limiting the production of pro-inflammatory agents (such as prostaglandins), as well as promoting the production of natural anti-inflammatory agents in the skin. The delicate eye area is often the first to show signs of irritation, so try using a light weight, gel-based eye cream that contains Harpoon Weed and Norwegian Kelp combined with Golden Chamomile. These three ingredients work very well together by limiting the inflammatory mediators, thereby significantly reducing eye puffiness and inflammation by 43%.

    Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
    Many may not be aware that there is naturally occurring histamine in alcohol, which is made during the fermentation process. Wine, beer and champagne contain the highest concentration of histamine which could exacerbate your symptoms.

    Eat Right
    “Avoiding certain foods and adding more of others — can affect your likelihood of developing seasonal allergies, as well as the severity of your symptoms”, says Leonard Bielory, M.D., American College of Asthma and Immunology.

    German researchers from the University of Bonn published an article in 2007 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” (AJCN) that identified high-histamine foods. Fish high in histamine include mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna. According to the Michigan Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Specialists (MASAS), fermented, aged and processed meats and cheeses are also high in histamine. It would be advisable for you to refer your client to an allergist and or nutritionist to really get some expert advice in regards to what food to avoid and include in their diet.

    Resources

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/best-worst-foodallergies_n_3017544.html#slide=2300996

    http://www.livescience.com/28320-climate-change-allergies.html

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/106451-foods-trigger-histamine-response/#ixzz2QZCqcovx

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/106451-foods-trigger-histamine-response/#ixzz2QZF4d3OX

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