You sneeze. Your eyes itch. You hold an aching head.
Yes, it’s allergy season, but these aren’t the only symptoms you may suffer. Turns out that spring allergies can affect your skin, too, causing dryness, flakiness, hives, and more.
If you find the pollen circulating in the air is affecting your appearance as well as your sinuses, we’ve got some tips for how you can help your skin to cope.
How do Spring Allergies Affect the Skin?
When an allergen enters your system, the immune system overreacts, attacking it as it would bacteria or a virus. This prompts the release of histamine, which leads to the symptoms you’re accustomed to, including sneezing, itchy eyes, and sometimes, breathing difficulties.
That reaction inside your body can affect your skin, too, though, even if you didn’t actually touch something that you’re allergic to. In fact, skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and hives are likely to flare up right when your allergies do, as they are connected to the immune system, too.
There are other changes that may indicate an allergic reaction, including swollen or inflamed skin, puffy eyes, red skin, flaky skin, and even a dull or discolored hue to the skin. Skin allergies can even affect your scalp, causing it to itch or become dryer than usual.
If you’re suffering from allergy symptoms on your skin, you could become more sensitive to certain products. Let’s say that your skin is dry and inflamed because of allergy season. Suddenly you may notice that you develop a reaction to your makeup or cleanser. Your skin turns red or breaks out when it never did before. If this happens to you, it could be because the allergens disrupted the outer skin barrier just enough to make skin more vulnerable to the chemical or synthetic ingredients in that product.
Products with “fragrance” listed in the ingredients are some of the most likely to cause reactions during allergy season, as synthetic fragrances can be made with a cocktail of chemicals that the company doesn’t have to reveal because of trade secret laws.
Allergy Symptom that Affect the Skin, Including Puffy Eyes
If you’re noticing symptoms that could indicate an allergic reaction, what can you do about them? First, it helps to figure out just what sort of symptoms you’re dealing with. Here are some of the most common.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis): Eczema can be aggravated by seasonal allergies, since the skin is already sensitive to irritants. You may feel more itchy and dry, or you may notice a rash.
- Hives: You may have experienced hives in the past related to something you wore or touched, but you can also develop those red, itchy raised bumps on the skin as a reaction to pollen or other inhaled allergens.
- Puffy, itchy eyes: These are commonly related to spring allergies, but the problem is they can come with unattractive bags or dark circles under the eyes. If you’re rubbing them because they itch, that can make your eyes look worse.
- General itchiness: Sometimes itching indicates dryness, which could be the case for you, but it can also indicate an allergic reaction.
- Dry, peeling skin: As the body tries to fight off what it sees as invaders, it releases histamine, which can cause skin to look red and dry, and may even lead to flaking.
- Rash: These can be similar to hives, but they usually appear first as red patches (rather than bumps), and are more likely to swell and become inflamed. If you garden or deal with flowers that you may be allergic too, you may be at risk for rashes.
Skin Care that Calms Irritated Skin from Spring Allergies
Once you figure out that it’s actually allergies that are causing your skin to react, you can take a number of steps to help calm that reaction:
- Talk to your allergy doctor: The first thing you want to do is address the allergy itself. Your allergy doctor can test you to find out what you’re allergic to, and may also recommend medications or allergy shots you can take to help calm your reaction.
- Avoid your triggers: Once you know what’s causing your reaction, try to avoid it. Stay inside on high-pollen days, and stay away from plants or trees that you may be allergic to.
- Shower before bed: Showering before you go to bed can help flush away any allergens you may have collected on your skin and/or hair before you go to bed, so you’re not breathing them in all night long. This can help reduce your allergic reaction.
- Change bedding frequently: Allergens can accumulate in your sheets and blankets. Regular washing in hot water can help.
- Open windows carefully: Opening windows is one of the best methods of increasing air ventilation inside your home and cutting down on indoor air pollution, but if it’s really windy or if there is a lot of pollen in the air, you’re going to bring all those allergens inside your home. Open your windows only when the risk is low.
- Consider supplements: Several herbal supplements have been found in studies to help calm spring allergies. Talk to your doctor about trying quercetin, butterbur, and feverfew.
- Use tissues with lotion: These can help keep your nose from becoming red, inflamed, and dry.
- Use eye drops: Avoid those that “get the red out,” as they shrink blood vessels and can eventually make red eyes worse. Instead, use those that simply lubricate, or ask your eye doctor about allergy drops.
In addition to these steps, you can also make slight changes in your skin-care routine that can help your skin better deal with spring allergies.
- Choose products made for sensitive skin: If your skin is reacting to spring allergens, it’s important to use the right products on it. Choose those that are made with safe ingredients that won’t make your reactions worse. CV Skinlabs products are all 100-percent fragrance-free, and all of the ingredients have been screened to be sure they aren’t linked to allergic reactions.
- Wash your face: You may need to wash more often to get rid of allergens. Be sure to use a gentle, creamy cleanser that moisturizes skin, and always apply your serums and moisturizers immediately after.
- Soothe puffy eyes: Cold tea bags, sliced cucumbers, and more can help soothe puffy eyes. If you have dark circles, see our post for help. We also have tips to soothe dry, itchy eyes here.
- Use your oatmeal: If your skin is inflamed and itchy, try mixing some finely ground oatmeal into your bath water, or make your own mask by mixing it with some Greek yogurt and letting it sit on skin for 10-15 minutes.
- Protect from the sun: The sun can exacerbate skin allergy symptoms, so make sure you’re protecting yourself when you go out.
How do you manage skin allergies in the spring?