Skip to main content

Skin Allergies: 4 Natural Remedies You Can Try at Home

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedFebruary 28, 2024

Skin allergies are a growing concern worldwide, with an average prevalence of approximately 20% across all age groups. Skin allergies can range from mild rashes to severe hives, and various factors can trigger them.

Discomfort and pain from skin allergies can significantly affect an individual's quality of life. In addition, many over-the-counter treatments may be effective for some but can further irritate others.

Thankfully, there are many natural remedies for skin allergies that you can try at home. This article will discuss the types of skin allergies, how you can apply different at-home treatments, and why they can effectively alleviate skin allergy symptoms.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Skin allergy is a type of allergy that happens when the skin comes in contact with an allergen.
  • There are many skin allergies, but the most common are eczema, contact dermatitis, hives, and angioedema.
  • Hives are a common symptom with skin allergies. 15-23% of adults get them at some point.
  • Natural remedies used to treat skin allergies can effectively alleviate symptoms; however, they are not a cure.
  • Aloe vera is one of the most popular ingredients used in skincare. It has inflammatory properties that can soothe your skin.
  • Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a beneficial fatty acid in breast milk that helps treat all kinds of health problems, including eczema.
  • Some people, especially the ones with sensitive skin, can be allergic to natural remedies such as aloe vera or coconut oil.

Understanding Skin Allergies

A skin allergy refers to the adverse immune response that occurs when substances come in contact with susceptible skin. These substances are called allergens, and they range from plants to latex, cosmetics, medications, insects, pets, chemicals, and more.

The prevalence of skin allergies depends on the type. Contact dermatitis affects approximately 20% of children, while 10% of people in the US have some form of eczema.

Now that you know what a skin allergy is, let’s review the symptoms to help identify them.

Symptoms of Skin Allergies

The symptoms of skin allergies can be mild to severe and appear in many ways. Typical signs and symptoms of skin allergies include:

When a skin allergy is triggered, the symptoms can be a combination of those above. Among them, hives are one of the most common. In fact, about 15-23% of adults get hives at some point in their life.

Types of Skin Allergies

Skin allergies is a broad term that covers a wide range of skin conditions with variable triggers and symptoms. Here are the common types of skin allergies.

Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that often starts in childhood. Over 31.6 million people in the US have a form of eczema. It is more common in children than in adults.

Some people grow out of eczema, while others don't. Both genetic and environmental factors can influence eczema. When triggered, \symptoms such as itchiness, dryness, and inflamed skin occur.

Contact Dermatitis

One of the most common types of skin allergies is contact dermatitis. It happens when the skin comes in contact with an allergen, provoking an immune respone.

Usually, the reaction won’t appear immediately. It may take hours or even days for symptoms to develop. Symptoms are generally persistent and slow to resolve, typically lasting 2-4 weeks.

Hives

Hives or urticaria are raised, itchy bumps on the skin that appear suddenly and often resolve or disappear on their own. The bumps result from the body's histamine production in response to the allergen.

Angioedema

Angioedema affects deeper layers of the skin. It is characterized by swelling due to the collection of fluid within the skin. Angioedema typically affects the eyes, lips, hands, feet, and mouth or throat. Angioedema can occur along with hives.

Angioedema can be a medical emergency. Call your emergency hotline immediately if your symptoms are severe, especially if you are experiencing swelling in your mouth or throat.

✅ Pro Tip

The key to preventing skin allergies is knowing your allergens and avoiding them.

Medical Treatments for Skin Allergies

There are several treatment options available to help address the symptoms associated with skin allergies. Here are some of the common medical treatments a medical provider may recommend:

  • Topical Corticosteroids: To lessen swelling and itching, these lotions or ointments are applied directly to the skin. Hydrocortisone, betamethasone, and clobetasol are a few examples.
  • Oral Antihistamines: These drugs help block the effects of histamine, a chemical released during allergic reactions that causes itchiness and inflammation. Three common antihistamines are loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
  • Oral Corticosteroids: Doctors may recommend oral corticosteroids like prednisone for serious skin allergies. These are typically prescribed in short bursts due to possible side effects with prolonged use.
  • Epinephrine: This medication is reserved for those experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis.. People with known anaphylaxis frequently carry an EpiPen or other epinephrine auto-injector.

Natural Remedies for Skin Allergies

There is increasing interest in home remedies to alleviate skin allergy symptoms. These treatments have been used for years in many cultures to calm inflamed skin and lessen allergic reactions. Natural remedies can help to alleviate symptoms but cannot “cure” skin allergies.

Here are some at-home natural remedies and instructions for using them.

✅ Pro Tip

Before using any natural remedy, check to ensure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients to avoid further allergic reactions.

1. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera is found in products such as deodorant, lotion, shampoo, facial masks, make-up, and many others.

A recent study listed the properties of aloe vera, and it was found that aloe vera can keep the skin clear and hydrated, restore the skin’s elasticity, and help heal dry skin. It also has antibacterial qualities that may help prevent infection, particularly for those with eczema, who are more prone to dry and cracked skin which can lead to infection.

Benefits of using aloe vera

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Moisturizing
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant
  • Soothing effect

How to Use

Step 1: Clean the affected area with unscented soap and water.

Step 2: Do a patch test by applying a small amount of aloe vera gel on the skin and wait at least 24 hours. Check if the aloe vera produced adverse effects on your skin.

Step 3: Once you’ve identified that your skin is suitable with aloe vera, apply a generous amount on the area where you are experiencing symptoms.

Step 4: Repeat this twice daily or as needed when your skin feels more inflamed or irritated.

Ensure you use 100% aloe vera gel to avoid irritation from other ingredients.

💡 Fun Fact

Aloe vera is a common ingredient in many skincare products from sunscreens and moisturizers to face masks and after-sun lotions. It has been used for centuries, thanks to its hydrating and soothing properties.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal, especially colloidal oatmeal (finely crushed oatmeal dissolved in liquid), has been a soothing agent to reduce itching and irritation linked to various skin diseases, including skin allergies.

A study in 2022 found that oatmeal is effective in helping treat chronic irritant hand eczema due to its properties that help protect, moisturize, and soothe the skin.

Benefits of Using Oatmeal

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Moisturizing
  • Skin barrier protection
  • Soothing effect
  • Hypoallergenic

How to Prepare an Oatmeal Bath

Step 1: Pour warm water into your bathtub. Avoid hot water because it can dry up and irritate your skin more.

Step 2: Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal in the water.

Step 3: Mix the water and oatmeal.

Step 4: Get inside the bathtub and soak your whole body in the water.

Step 5: After 30 minutes, rinse yourself with a lukewarm shower.

How to Use Oatmeal as a Paste

Step 1: Put oatmeal in a bowl, the amount of oatmeal depends on how big is the skin area that you're going to cover.

Step 2: Add water to the bowl and mix it with the oatmeal till you create a thick but spreadable paste.

Step 3: Apply the paste to the clean affected area.

Step 4: After 30 minutes, gently rinse the area with cool water.

3. Baking Soda

Another good homemade remedy for skin allergies is baking soda. It is found to have antipruritic effects when used for baths and is recommended as a potential treatment for eczema by the National Eczema Association.

Benefits of using baking soda

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Balances pH levels
  • Reduces itching
  • Soothes skin

How to Use as a Paste

Step 1: Mix 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda with water and make a thick paste.

Step 2: Do a patch test first by applying a small amount of baking soda to your skin. Wait for 24 hours and check if there are any adverse reactions.

Step 3: Apply the paste to the clean affected area.

Step 4: Wait for about 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse off the paste gently with cool water.

How to Use in a Bath

Step 1: Do a patch test by applying a small amount of baking soda to your skin. Wait for 24 hours and check if there are any adverse reactions.

Step 2: Add 1-2 cups of baking soda to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water.

Step 3: Soak in the baking soda bath for 10-20 minutes.

Step 4: Rinse your body with fresh water to remove baking soda residue.

4. Coconut Oil

Lauranic acid is abundant in coconut oil. It is a beneficial fatty acid in breast milk that helps treat various health problems, including eczema. Due to its natural emollient properties, coconut oil makes dry skin feel smooth by filling in gaps.

A 2019 study discovered that coconut oil can boost skin cell levels of filaggrin, which in turn can help promote and preserve skin moisturization. According to the study, virgin coconut oil may effectively treat eczema. However, coconut oil is one of the top eight allergens, so it might not be effective for everyone.

Benefits of using coconut oil

  • Moisturizing properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial and antifungal
  • Strengthens skin barrier
  • Soothing effect

How to Use

Step 1: Choose the right coconut oil by opting for virgin or extra virgin coconut oil.

Step 2: Before applying, do a patch test by putting a small amount of coconut oil on your skin and waiting 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions.

Step 3: Clean the affected area with unscented soap and water.

Step 4: Scoop out a small amount of coconut oil and rub it between your palms to warm and soften it.

Step 5: Gently massage the warmed coconut oil onto the affected area in a circular motion. Ensure a thin, even layer covers the skin.

Step 6: Allow the coconut oil to absorb into the skin.

Step 7: For best results, apply coconut oil 2-3 times daily or before sleep to let your skin fully absorb it.

Risks of Using Natural Remedies for Skin Allergies

While natural remedies for skin allergies are effective, they can sometimes pose risks for their users. Knowing the potential risks and side effects of using natural remedies is essential.

Here are some potential risks associated with using natural remedies:

  • Allergic Reactions: Some people, especially those with sensitive skin, can be allergic to natural remedies such as aloe vera or coconut oil.
  • Skin Irritation: Even if you're not allergic to a remedy, skin irritation could still occur. It’s important to conduct patch tests prior to using natural remedies to ensure they do not cause irritation.
  • Dependency on Natural Treatments: Some people might rely solely on natural remedies to treat their skin without consulting their doctor. This could delay the diagnosis of a potentially severe condition.
  • Contamination: If not sourced or stored correctly, natural remedies can become contaminated with bacteria, mold, or other harmful substances.

It is best to consult your doctor before trying any natural remedy to ensure it is safe for you and your skin type.

Final Thoughts

There is a growing concern for skin allergies, which develop as an immune response to generally benign substances that come in contact with susceptible skin. Thankfully, skin allergy symptoms can potentially be relieved at home using natural remedies.

Home remedies for skin allergies include aloe vera, coconut oil, baking soda, and oatmeal. Although they are known to help reduce the symptoms of skin allergies, they may not be effective for everyone and can sometimes worsen symptoms.

For those who want to try natural remedies, make sure that you are not allergic to the ingredients before using. It is also best to consult your healthcare provider before trying them.

FAQs on Natural Remedies for Skin Allergy

Can diet influence skin allergies?

Yes, certain foods can trigger skin allergies in some individuals. Common culprits include dairy, nuts, shellfish, and gluten. It's essential to consult with a doctor if you suspect a food allergy.

How long do natural remedies take to show results?

The effectiveness of natural remedies for skin allergies can vary from person to person. Some might see immediate relief, while others need consistent application over several days or weeks.

Can I combine multiple natural remedies for better results?

While some natural remedies can be combined, it's essential to do a patch test for each remedy separately first. Once you are confident you don't have adverse reactions, you can try combining them. However, always consult with a medical provider before mixing remedies.

Can I use natural remedies if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Although many natural remedies are safe6, consulting with a healthcare professional before using any treatments during pregnancy or while breastfeeding is crucial. Home remedies for skin allergies include aloe vera, coconut oil, baking soda, and oatmeal. Although they are known to help with the symptoms of skin allergies, it is essential to note that they may not be effective for everyone and can sometimes worsen symptoms.