Fact Friday- Allergens (in food, nature, and skincare)

I was thinking about what I wanted my next Fact Friday post to be about and there has been SO much going on lately around “reactions” that I thought it would be good to do a post specifically around allergens.

What is an allergen? How do you react? Where are they found etc?

My daughter Samantha has an eczema, an egg allergy, and seasonal allergies.  Her body reacts differently to all 3 (poor thing).  My father had severe seasonal allergies, and my brother was so allergic to everything he got 6 shots a week for several years.  My sister in law also has allergies and get shots for them… Needless to say, genetically, my daughter was screwed!

What is an allergy?

An allergy or allergic reaction, is what happens when your body responds to a normally harmless substance and thinks it is invading the body.

I  LOVE learning with pictures, and I think this helps so much.

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There are 2 steps to a reaction.   This is SO important, and most people don’t know this is how the body works.

STEP 1.  You are FIRST exposed to the allergen.  At this time, you will not have any reaction.  It is called “Sensitization.”

What happens, is the allergen (pollen, a food, a lotion ingredient, anything) comes in contact with you whether you inhale it, eat it, or touch it.

Cells release signals which stimulates the B cell (pictured above) to begin producing a LOT of IgE, a specific antibody.   There is a lot of IgE so it starts looking for another cell that is its home (it’s receptor)  The IgE looks for and attaches to Mast Cells.   At this point, the mast cells with the attached IgE are considered sensitized.  Basically they are ready and waiting for the next time you are exposed to the same allergen.

This is an important step because you can become sensitized at any time.  Doctors know what “known” sensitizers are.  There are specific ingredients that doctors know that if you keep exposing yourself to them A LOT, your body may develop an allergy to them.  There are 26 known or top allergens or sensitizing ingredients in fragrances.   Scientist in the cosmetic industry know what these ingredients are AND what LEVELS would pose a risk so they are avoided… smaller companies and private individuals who make their own skin care ususally don’t have this knowledge.

Step 2:  This is the second, or third, fourth, (or 100th time) you are exposed to the allergen.   Once you have been sensitized, when you come in contact with the allergen, it now has a place to go.  It binds to the “ready” mast cell and the cell releases histamine into the body.

This release triggers your symptoms of hives, itching, swelling, watery eyes, anaphylactic shot etc.

There you have it, an allergic reaction.

It is important to note that IgE is specific to each allergen. That means that IgE to cat can only trigger an allergic reaction to cat. A blood test will help identify the amount of IgE in the body. Knowing your IgE levels for different substances will help identify the specific allergic triggers that may be contributing to your symptoms, i.e. if you are allergic and what you are allergic to.

Tune in next week when I elaborate on this allergy thing a bit more, specifically related to skincare.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Resources

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergy-basics

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergic-reactions

http://www.wisegeek.net/what-is-a-food-allergy.htm#didyouknowout

 

 

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Doing it all

I’ve been listening to a ton of books on my commute to and from work (thank you audible) and this theme has been resonating with me a lot, I wanted to bring it up.

When we do what is in line with our values we are at peace.

If you value time with your family, but whenever you are home you are on your phone there will be an internal struggle within yourself.

These guys are the ones I need to put first.

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But the struggle is so REAL!

I want to learn about new innovative products for skincare, dive deeper into the acne category, explore new ingredients and run a million experiments.  I want to exercise, train for a marathon, lift, swim, bike, and get yoga certified.  I want to learn about the biochemistry of nutrition, I want to understand carb cycling and macros in addition to other modes of calculating how much of each nutrient you should be eating.  I want to read motivational books, and journal, and reach out to as many people as I can and help hundreds of moms get in shape and start taking care of themselves.  BUT, at the core of everything I don’t want to miss my kids childhood.  Seriously, because I mean, how cute are they?!

I REALLY want to do all these things and I want to give 100%, but in reality I just can’t!  There are only 24 hours in a day.

I had to find a way to do some but make sure I was putting my kids and husband first. I started realizing that I was spending so much time away from my kids because I was working and I started to not enjoy my work as much. I made it a point to put my phone away from the moment I walked in house until the kids went to bed. By just making that small change, those 2 hours are for my kids. I mean, sort of. I am still cooking dinner and cleaning up during that time, but if they are talking to me, they have my attention. I am not being distracted.  I may pull it out to snap pictures here and there of dinners we are making.

I found ways to accomplish most of what I want to in the 24 hours a day that I am given.

I have my entire life to become an expert in any of those field.  I will run a marathon some day and I will get my yoga certification some day.  That day is just not today.

Think about the things that you value in your life, put them first and the rest will fall into place.

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We may just have to prioritize the amazingness.