Have you ever had a mystery rash? A minor rash (but majorly irritating to touch or to look at) the doctor brushed off as something that will go away by itself, but somehow it never does? You've watched your fook intake, you've tried all sorts of creams, but this very dry rough patch won't go away. Perhaps something's in the air... and it ain't love.
I have suspected that air pollution may cause some skin irritations, but I never realized it's one of the leading causes of skin allergies. Today, our pediatrician-allercologist confirmed the connection. Worse, she said that our skin is the 2nd most affected organ of the body, next to our respiratory system.
Air pollution could cause more skin allergies than bad water, apparently. Makes sense, since air has contact with our skin 24/7. So when the air is filled with allergens, irritants and VOCs, we get itch and rash. When we scratch it, it gets worse and all hell breaks loose.
I first saw the connection based on the frequency of user reviews, especially in China. The air quality in Shanghai went off the charts polluted last year (pollution levels at AQI 500 to 700++, healthy levels at AQI 50 or below). We got many user reviews in the same vein: stubborn dry rough patches that never go away, especially on the face. Or on exposed areas. It's not dangerous, just effin' irritating. It's itchy or flaky or painful or plain fugly. You can't put make up on because it looks worse. It doesn't go away even with expensive moisturizers. When they use medicine, it could disappear but it comes back. These people say that Bebebalm cleared up their rash in a few days. And when they continue using it as a base moisturizer day and night, their skin improved and the skin didn't come back.
Happy as I was that Bebebalm has helped many get reunited with their good complexion, I was concerned that so many people had te same complaints at approximately the time when the air quality index (AQI) gets worse. So I asked the pediatrician-allercologist on what we can do to prevent it.
8 tips to manage allergies
1. Move to a place with cleaner air.
You can't hide from air pollution, even indoors, Shanghai's allergic rhinitis cases went up to 60+% in recent years, the doctor shared. If we continue to live in Shanghai, she shared, not only will my babies be more prone to frequent eczema flares, they will more likely get asthma. (Babies with atopic dermatitis are more prone to resiratory issues when they grow older.) *Sob*
2. Use a wet cycle vacuum cleaner
A dry cycle vacuum cleaner just recycles dust mites back to the air. You need a wet cycle vacuum cleaner to trap the dust mites like Magneto on an all plastic non-metal jail... no escape. No need for a fancy vacuum with Hepa filters such as Rainbow (although I still covet one) . The doctor advised just to get a separate Hepa purifier that can run all day. Much cheaper, less noisy, more practical.
3. Use a powerful Hepa Air Purifier
Like air conditioners, there's a proper measurement on how much area one air purifier unit can clean. Check the machine and compute your room size accordingly. The doctor suggested at least 2 powerful air purifiers in very polluted cities. The air purifier must be turned on one hour before you go in, and must continue to run while you're inside. (In constantly polluted places such as China cities, an air purifier expert advised running it 24/7 and replacing filters every 6 months.)
4. Wash sheets in HOT water
Replace all beddings at least once a week. And wash them in hot cycle to kill those buggers dead. Dust mites are tough creatures, they don't die in the cold cycle. Wash pillows too. And curtains. And other dust catchers. In hot water.
5. No pets.
Okay you may have a gold fish. Furry animals and allergies just don't see eye to eye. You need to choose. Pet hairs do make great dust mite fodder. People with allergic rhinitis and asthma should avoid them. If you've got sensitive skin and eczema, it's best to avoid furries too.
6. No stuffed toys.
Doc says, "Donate them to charity and make other non-allergic kids happy." Haha, my doctor has a sense of humor. You get the drift, dust mites causes lots of allergies, from respiratory to skin.
7. Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize
Air pollution makes skin very dry and itchy. Apply Bebebalm super nourishing moisturizer within 3 minutes after you shower to trap more moisture in and throw away the key. Reapply throughout the day whenever skin feels dry. Bebebalm gives longer lasting protection on the outside, while intensively nourishing skin on the inside. to help your skin become smooth and healthy again.
8. Do not scratch
Naughty boys and girls, you know that scratching will make it worse. It will make itch more itchy. So Bebebalm it (when dry and flaky) or Bebebugs it (when really itchy) . Or just tie your hands together. Even taking antihistamine meds won't do much if you keep fuelling the fire by scratching. Just don't scratch.
Next time you have a mystery rash, try cleaning up your air. And dont forget to help your skin repair itself with Bebebalm!
Have a good day!