Two Birds One Stone: Cure Acne With Allergy Treaments?
One of the hubbers posted the comment below on my hub “Cure Acne today!”:
“My one daughter suffered with acne. You mention a few things we had not considered. Meanwhile she developed a severe dust allergy. Since she started treatment against this allergy, her acne disappeared, completely. Would love to hear your opinion of this.”
As a clinical pharmacist, this was something that really piqued my interest. So I started to answer the question and realized it was a fascinating topic worthy on its own. So the following are my theories to this proposition. Allergies and Acne, how much are they interrelated?
Coincidence? I know it’s a boring answer but it is a possibility so I’ve got to put it forth. Not the only possibility, but one of the possibilities as to why or how active acne would appear to resolve on its own when an allergy is treated successfully. There could have been other things going on at the time in her life that affected the acne. Did she start menstruation? It can translate to hormonal changes that could clear up the skin though it is not always the case. Were there stress factors from her life that were removed? Stress does aggravate acne so reducing stress can improve acne. Maybe the allergy treatment had not much to do with it.
However, this intriguing question, I believe, is definitely worthy of more thought out theories.
Sometimes allergies can worsen acne. That is, some of the symptoms of allergies include: runny nose, sneezing, rash, teary eyes, fatigue, irritability, itchy eyes, nose, and skin. This list reads like “how to worsen your acne”. Sneezing, runny nose, teary eyes, itchy eyes, nose and skin all make you touch your face more than usual. You’re likely to also scratch your skin. You’re depositing bacteria from your hands onto your face and skin in other areas as well as from one part of the body to another to the face, etc. Increased bacteria and cross-contamination between different parts of the body can mean worsened acne. If you have a rash, of course, you’re also scratching, so really the same effect and let’s face it, we all end up scratching a little no matter how much our moms have told us to leave it alone. Allergies can also cause fatigue and irritability. You may not sleep well with all the allergy symptoms. Allergies themselves are stress-inducers. You’re itching, you’re sneezing, you’re not sleeping well, nor can you concentrate with all that bothers you. The end result: possibility of more acne. So when the allergy is treated, the effective allergy treatment could have led to reduced triggers for acne.
It’s also conceivable, depending on the timeline, that what was thought to be acne was never acne at all. Allergic rash could have been mistakenly thought of as acne. Some of the hives can present raised and red mimicking fully inflamed acne. I don’t believe it is the most likely scenario but many skin conditions including acne and allergic rash are mistaken for something else many times. Only when a prescribed treatment fails or worsens the condition do other diagnoses get explored sometimes.
The theory I find more fascinating would be that the allergy treatment itself served as acne treatment.
Anti-histamines are widely used to treat different types of allergies. While I don’t believe anyone could really claim anti-histamines can cure acne, there have been some small studies done as well as theories out there in the scientific community that postulates they may serve as an adjunct treatment to conventional cures for acne. In my hub “Cure Acne today!” I discuss that the overproduction of oil can lead to acne. The sebocytes, the major cells responsible for producing oil to keep skin lubricated have been found to have histamine-1 receptors on them. It has been posited that blocking these receptors on the sebocytes may lead to decreased production of oil possibly resulting in reduced acne.
Singulair is another interesting medication often used as a part of the treatment regimen for allergies. It is a selective leukotriene receptor antagonist that inhibits the cysteinyl leukotriene CysLT1 receptor. The inflammation of the acne is mediated by the release of leukotrienes and histamines. Then logic follows that introduction of anti-leukotrienes and/or anti-histamines can aide in preventing acne as well as reducing inflammation of the existing acne. This of course, is a theory with teeth if you ask me and supports the role of anti-histamines as well as anti-leukotrienes.
Of course, these are just theories. There are not enough solid studies to support the use of either anti-histamines or anti-leukotrienes to fully claim them as cure for acne. However, much like advances in anything else, sometimes these theories that are put forth are what give birth to experimenting with the possibilities. Sometimes medications are approved for an additional indication, years after first being marketed for one indication because post market studies may show promise for some other condition. After all, Viagra came about that way.
It is important to note that our bodies are not a collection of closed systems but very sophisticated systems working in harmony affecting each other in sometimes mysterious ways that we are yet to understand. Treating the body for one condition such as allergies may in fact benefit in treating another condition such as acne. Worsening of one condition may worsen another. Health, after all, is a whole body experience. Treat your body right and it will reward you with health which will help lead you to happiness and even wealth. But I guess that is another hub altogether.