Skin allergies are complex and fickle beasts and can, quite literally, change with the weather!
I’ve ‘managed’ Urticaria for over 12 years now and have gradually got to grips with what makes it better or worse.
However, every now and again life throws up a new experience that teaches me something else about my skin and how it ticks.
One of the real pleasures during my recent pregnancy was that my Urticaria completely vanished. In fact, I had the best skin I’ve ever had – glowing, dewy and calm. But, along came baby and with it Urticaria. And boy did it return with a vengeance!
It got me thinking about the effects of hormones on the skin and a spot of research threw up some definite links between our hormone cycles and skin health.
Hormones & Skin Health
Thinking back, my Urticaria has always been bad at that time of the month – and we hear from a lot of women who say the same thing.
One reason for this is body temperature – which rises just after ovulation and stays higher for around 10-16 days, covering the days prior to and the start of your period.
Excess heat in the body is often associated with skin flare-ups – eczema in Greek means ‘to boil over’.
Blemish-prone skin can also be worse just before your period thanks to a sharp rise in progesterone. Progesterone interrupts the skin’s oestrogen receptors, which regulate the sebaceous glands. The result is an increase in sebum production and those pre-menstrual pimples.
Pregnancy & Skin Health
So if hormone spikes are to blame for skin troubles, you’d expect my urticaria to have got worse, not better, during pregnancy when hormone levels surge.
This is where the immune system comes into play as it strengthens significantly during pregnancy.
A recent study showed a link between high levels of progesterone during pregnancy and the thymus gland – the key organ within our immune system which is dependent on progesterone.
Urticaria, like many allergies, is classed as auto-immune – which is why it’s worse when you’re run down and better when you’re fighting fit. So a hugely boosted immune system during pregnancy would logically result in calmer, happier skin.
Have any other allergy sufferers out there experienced this? Or can anyone share any scientific proof to back up or disprove these theories?!