Chronic Hives on YouTube: Flare-Up Tips from Vanessa
Last updated: September 2023
Vanessa Evelyn is a lifestyle blogger from San Francisco, who has been living with chronic hives since 2018. Her stories and video blogs can be found on her own website and YouTube channel. On YouTube, Vanessa has created a series sharing skin issues and her personal tips and tricks that have worked for her. Below you will find a summary of one video that could be particularly interesting for our community.
The video is titled "6 Lifestyle Changes I've Made Since Developing Chronic Urticaria | How I Manage Chronic Urticaria". It covers how Vanessa both manages chronic hives flare-ups when they occur, and prevents flare-ups from occurring in the first place.
It is always best to follow your doctor's medical advice. Be sure to check with your doctor before attempting any new treatments or lifestyle changes!
Chronic hives development
From watching Vanessa's video, we learned she developed chronic hives in 2018 as a senior in college. She was working on creating content and growing her social media presence while also being a student. In this video, she shared that her hives were most intense and consistent in the beginning, and have lessened over the years.
"Lifestyle changes" as she called them, were what helped most with managing her chronic hives flare-ups. We have compiled a list below of the changes Vanessa made in her own life:
Many of us have experienced the stress of college or work, where there can be pressure to meet deadlines. Stress can often be a major trigger for many people living with chronic hives. Vanessa would provide notes from her doctor and request extensions for assignments from her college professors, or from brands for paid campaign deadlines. She learned having longer deadlines lowered her stress levels and allowed her body more rest, and worked with her doctor to make that possible.
Vanessa came to the conclusion that animal products could often be inflammatory and affect her skin. She began to move toward an anti-inflammatory diet. But first, an elimination diet to determine any specific food sensitivities. Vanessa shared that even after cutting out animal products, she would still experience facial flare-ups. Her lips would get hot, itchy and swollen. Ultimately it was discovered she has a sensitivity to nuts and seeds, and now proceeds with caution when consuming those products (as well as animal products).
When Vanessa is unable to avoid a product that contributes to her flare-ups, such as cross-contamination with food, she will consume a large amount of anti-inflammatory liquids. For her, liquids such as ginger turmeric tea and coconut water are beneficial. She will also make sure the amount of food she is consuming throughout that day is lighter. She says this gives her body time to reset and make sure her body's energy is focused on combating her flare-ups, and not also having a hard time digesting.
Throughout her chronic hives journey, Vanessa has learned that rigorous exercise can cause flare-ups to worsen. So, she will stick to low-impact exercise or stretching if she is in the midst of a flare-up. This helps her to stay active and keep her body moving, but also calm.
Skin and hair products
During a chronic hives flare-up, Vanessa will keep any skin and hair products to a minimum, to avoid aggravating her skin further. She admitted that while she likes to stay as natural as possible, natural and holistic products often contain ingredients that she is allergic to (such as almond or sesame oil). For her, natural is not always the best route due to these allergic reactions.
Additionally, she will conduct her own patch testing for new products. She will apply to small patches of skin (usually on her neck), allow a few days to pass for any delayed response, and then determine if her skin and the product are compatible. Similarly with hair products, she has found chemicals can exacerbate her facial flare-ups, even when it's a product she has used before. So overall, she starts small with beauty products and exercises caution with products that have been tolerable in the past.
Finally, Vanessa has learned that sun exposure can often intensify her flare-ups. When possible, she will limit her time in the sun to keep her skin calm. When she cannot avoid the sun fully, she will wear a wide-brim hat to protect her face.
In summary, Vanessa suggests lowering stress levels when possible, prioritizing rest, finding what diet works best for you, anti-inflammatory food and drink, caution with beauty products, and learning when to avoid or limit rigorous exercise and sun exposure.
Have you tried any of the tips shared by Vanessa? Have you had different experiences/results? Share with us in the comments!
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