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Help, my skin allergies are driving me up the wall!

Help, my skin allergies are driving me up the wall!

Eczema, hives, itchy skin, redness, dry patches... All of these symptoms can be caused by an allergic reaction, as our skin defends itself against an allergen. It becomes irritated and our dermis suffers. Skin allergies are very common, but it's sometimes hard to root out the cause. Most are contact allergies, but some can be caused by medicines as well as what we eat and breathe.

First step to beating an allergy is to find out and avoid the root cause. If you think you have a skin allergy, you should consult a specialist. An allergist or dermatologist can take skin and blood samples to determine the allergen. They'll then be able to topically treat itchiness and other symptoms - cortisone creams, anti-inflammatory steroids and antihistamines can soothe allergic reactions. If you suspect that you have an allergy, avoid prolonged contact with water. Don't spend long under the shower, don't rub your skin dry, avoid tight clothes and swap your normal soap for an emollient one.

Amongst the many options available, treating skin allergies with phytotherapy is highly effective. Aloe vera will calm problem areas, rooibos will soothe and nourish, berries will heal superficial wounds and turmeric will hydrate affected skin. Whatever the case, the best helping hand you can give your skin is to pop down to your local chemist and invest in an emollient cream that will nourish your skin.

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