Spotless, glass-like skin is a dream for everyone. Millions of YouTubers earn a lot of money because of this reason. There are a lot of DIY s and herbal remedies that claim to heal skin rashes and give you clear and glowing skin. But how much it works and is it the same for everyone? Let us have look. Skin, being the largest organ in the body has multiple roles. As the external and protective layer of the human body, the skin works as the physical barrier or a great wall between the internal organs and the external environment. It is also the first line of defense against germs and microbes that invade the body to cause diseases. Due to the same reason, skin is the most common site of an allergic response or reactions to external factors.
The skin has many sensory nerve endings that help the person to know his surroundings. Being aware of the temperature and touch is very important in survival. These nerves along with skin cells function very sensitive to sense minute changes in the external environment. For example, if the external environment becomes cold, the body increases the rate of blood circulation to maintain body heat. In this way, the body has its survival mechanisms to adapt to almost any external environment. In the same way, the body has a chemical set of defense systems to fight off any germs or infections and that is called immunity. Immunity is mainly two types. One is present at the time of birth and the other, acquired afterward.
The immune system secretes chemicals that fight with the virus or bacteria or any other intruders and a chemical reaction follows. Most of such reactions happen on the skin. In most cases, we don’t even know such incidents as the immune system wins easily. But there are some cases, the immune system gets hyperactive to release many chemicals against a mild or moderate infectious agent. Often this can happen to foreign bodies like pollens or dust. Anything that causes such hyperallergic reactions is called allergens. These furious immune reactions with germs or any allergens lead to skin rashes or precisely skin allergies in common language. In some cases, it may not be external as in the case of food allergy.
Having a new or unfamiliar food can cause skin reactions as a sign of allergy, very commonly found in small babies. There are many conditions of skin allergies but common ones are atopic dermatitis or eczema, contact dermatitis, urticaria, and swelling. Most of them are different in clinical presentation and can be diagnosed by physical examination. In some cases, blood tests are suggested to know the state of the immune system. Treatment depends upon the severity and mostly includes immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory medicines. Skin allergies are very common and mostly mild but they can be long-lasting and disturbingly frequent. In rare cases, serious and fatal complications can develop due to skin allergies or as a reaction to the medication.
Ayurvedic treatment for skin allergies
Skin is the sensory organ for touch and the seat of hairs & sweat channels according to Ayurveda. Skin diseases may be developed due to internal or external causative factors. Ayurveda explains skin as the excellence of the nourishment from the food we eat. Skin is a form of Rasadhatu, the first formed body matter from the food after digestion. This point from the ancient texts of Ayurveda explains why food allergies manifest on the skin first. Rasadhatu, again after undergoing various physiological changes becomes Raktadhatu, both of which corresponding to the nourishing body fluids like blood & lymph circulate all over the body. All the other tissues like muscles or bones are produced from these consistently.
A wholesome diet and a healthy lifestyle can lead to the formation of healthy body tissues including skin. But any defect in the food or lifestyle can cause derangement in the balanced state of the body functions. In most people, the reason may be subtle or very old, or negligible that we are not able to identify. Such causes come under sins or bad deeds in Ayurveda philosophy. Emotional stress and the consequent changes in the stress hormone levels after a sin can cause dangerous chemical reactions in the body. This can cause various diseases even without the person knowing.
Skin diseases known as Kushtha in Ayurveda and 20 types are explained according to the clinical presentation based on tridoshas. Any skin allergy rash will have a cosmetic aspect too, it is noted by the word Kushtha which implies disfiguration. Skin allergies also come under Kushtha subtypes as per compared clinical manifestation. A detailed description of each Kushtha is there in classical Ayurveda texts. Name, aetiology, pathology, treatment, and prognosis are explained separately. Both genetic and environmental factors play roles in skin diseases. Added to them, psychosocial factors also have a role in the skin diseases manifestation, Ayurveda explains.
Ayurveda follows a customized or more individualized approach in diagnosis and treatment. Multiple factors like age, sex, place of residence, dosha, affected body part, season, diet, and strength of the patient are considered while deciding the treatment. In this way, an explanation is possible for the theory that one medicine may work for one person but not for the other one with the same presentation. In any disease, the first line of treatment is avoiding the causative factor(s). In skin allergies, most cases subside by this step itself. It takes time and patience to find the real cause of the skin allergy. Once the allergen is found out, it is easy to manage in mild cases. But in severe cases, both internal medicines and external treatments will be needed for the management of the condition with avoidance of cause.
Internal medicines are used for detoxification that cleanses the whole body. They work on the process of digestion and assimilation leading to the excellence of Rasadhatu. This will lessen the hyperallergic reactions and immune responses are regulated in a normal state. Therapeutic purgation is the first line of detoxification that cleanses the gut and enhances Agni (digestion and absorption). In some cases, other Ayurveda Panchakarma procedures for therapeutic cleaning will be needed. This should be done under expert guidance only. Continued and regular intake of medicines for proper regulation and maintenance of digestive and immune systems is recommended for a longer cure. Patolakkaturhinyadi kwatha, aragwadhadi kwatha, manjishthadi kwatha, avipathikara churna, etc are used internally.
Local applications or external application of herbal formulations in the form of herbal washes, herbal powders sprinkled, herbal paste, etc are found useful in acute skin allergies. Aragwadhadi kwatha, nimba kwatha, thriphala churna are used widely for such purposes. They will reduce the rashes, prevent spreading and complications and reduce itching, oedema, etc.
A stress-free life with a wholesome diet and healthy lifestyle is a must for healthy skin. Ayurveda gives importance to the maintenance of a daily routine from waking up to going to bed. It describes the healthy way including early wake-up, passing urine & stools, taking bath, food, job, etc including an oil massage & exercise. A seasonal regimen is advised to cope up with the environmental changes. Sadvrutta part explains the moral side of human life to keep up the good spirits and happiness. Thus, skin allergies can be managed well without any adverse effects by Ayurveda treatment. Recurrence can be prevented by following the Ayurveda style of living.