Preventing Skin Allergies in the First Place

Many of the remedies and avoidance tactics we’ve talked about in earlier chapters also double as preventive measures against skin allergies. But there are a few additional guidelines you should follow.

  1. To keep your skin becoming dry and easily inflamed, avoid long hot soaks in the tub, leisurely showers or too frequent washing. After washing, don't rub vigorously. Rather, pat the skin dry with a soft towel.
  2. Use non-alkaline soaps to maintain your skin’s natural acidity (Purpose and Basis are two soaps that are highly recommended by skin care specialists).
  3. Don't allow your children to ”play grown up” with your makeup. Early exposure to cosmetics increases the chances that when they do grow up, they will develop not only cosmetics allergy, but other assorted contact allergies, according to Guinter Kahn, M.D., a dermatologist in North Miami Beach. Cosmetics marketed to preteens are also unacceptable.
  4. To reduce the number of potential offenders you came in contact with, use body care products with simplest, most basic formulas.
  5. Be on guard for the smallest symptoms any time you test a new product. If something does trouble you, try to determine from the list of ingredient is the problem, and avoid other products containing that substance.
  6. Relax! Some people break out only when they're tired, tense or upset, or under any strain that taxes the body’s defense system (see Mind Over Allergy, for complete discussion on coping with allergy).
  7. Enlist your doctor’s help to prevent skin reactions. He or she should avoid prescribing topical oral medications which are known to cause skin reactions – benzocaine, furacin, neomycin, penicillin, sulfonamides, ammoniated mercury, thimerosal, dibucaine, cyclomethycaine sulfate, wool wax alcohol (lanolin) and turpentine.
  8. If you’re facing surgery, tell your surgeon if you’re allergic to nickel. Some nickel sensitive people react to surgical clips used to close incisions or to metal prostheses (artificial parts) inserted in limbs.
  9. Use over the counter medicated salves cautiously, if at all. If you’re allergic to a dye (like FD&C Yellow No. 11) or a preservative (like parabens or formaldehyde) in cosmetics, you’ll also react to that compound in medicinal creams and lotions. Also, avoid all of the ”-caine” salves and ointments.

Skin allergies, of course, can coexist with other skin diseases, such as acne or psoriasis. If the problem persist in spite of all your efforts to control it, don't hesitate to make an appointment with a dermatologist.