How to Take Extra-Special Care of your Skin During Allergy Season

Allergy season is a time of sneezing, coughing, stuffiness, and fatigue.  And that pollen, ragweed, mold and mildew in the air can definitely take a toll on how you look, as well as how you feel.  If you suffer from allergies, you know exactly how a bad allergen day can lead to puffy eyes, a red, runny nose, skin irritation and dark circles under your eyes. And who wants that?  Especially with so many joyous events to attend this time of year!  So, when allergens rev up your body’s natural inflammation and make you look like you’ve been crying for days, it’s time to take action and save face for this season’s projected bad allergy days.

Here are some simple steps to help you take extra special care of your skin during allergy season:

To remedy a red noseAllergies can inflame nasal passages, causing sneezing and stuffiness, and all of the resulting nose-wiping can leave you with a red nose, caused by dryness and irritation.

The fix:

  • Be gentle when you blow your nose. Forceful nose-blowing can further inflame your nasal passages, leading to greater congestion.
  • Use high-quality, soft tissues. Tissues infused with aloe can be softer and less irritating on your nose, reducing redness.
  • Use an anti-redness moisturizer. High quality brands suggested by your dermatologist may contain niacinamide to boost hydration and reduce inflammation.
  • Use the right concealer. Those with yellow undertones will better hide skin redness than ones with pink undertones.

To remedy puffy eyes:  Seasonal allergies can lead to puffiness around the eyes. When pollen or other irritants get into your eyes, it causes inflammation, which can make eyes puff and also get red and itchy.

The fix:

  • Cool those puffy eyes away. Drench two organic cotton balls in cool water, and hold them over your eyes for as long as the cool sensation lasts. The cool compress can reduce puffiness. Some women try putting two metal spoons in the freezer to hold over their eyes, but the extreme coldness of the frozen metal is often not as comfortable as a cool cotton ball.
  • If you still have eye puffiness after a few days of trying the cool cotton ball compress, switch to warm water on those cotton balls, which can help flush away toxin buildup around the eyes, rather than constricting blood vessels around the eyes like cold water does.
  • Talk with your dermatologist. And, bring your eye wrinkle creams with you so that your dermatologist can inspect the ingredients. Some anti-wrinkle creams’ active ingredients remove wrinkles by puffing up the skin around the eyes, contributing to puffier eyes overall. A switch or a topical medication can help reduce your eye puffiness for a healthier, more alert, prettier look.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can cause eye puffiness, so aim for excellent sleep as a way to combat those seasonal allergy effects on your skin.
  • Sleep with your head slightly elevated. Raise the head of your bed, or sleep on several pillows, to alleviate some of the blood naturally pooling in your face while you sleep.

To remedy dark circles under your eyes:  Allergies activate histamines in your system, which can lead to dark circles under your eyes when fluid retention occurs there. And when eyes are itchy, rubbing them can also lead to those telltale dark circles that make you look old, tired, and sick – not a pretty look for spring and summer.

The fix:

  • Talk with your dermatologist about eye drops that can alleviate your uncomfortable eye symptoms. When your eyes are less itchy and less watery, you won’t rub them as often. Antihistamines prescribed or suggested by your doctor can also help alleviate your allergy eye symptoms.
  • Reduce your salt intake and drink more water to alleviate fluid retention, not just under your eyes, but throughout your entire body.
  • Sleep on your back, with your head slightly elevated to further help reduce fluid retention.
  • Speak to your dermatologist about eye creams and doctor-suggested eye makeup to be sure you’re not applying formulas that add to your eye issues and dark circles.
  • Apply cotton balls soaked in anti-inflammatory chamomile. After your enjoy a cup of chamomile tea, use that cooled, non-sugared leftover tea to drench two cotton balls and place them safely below your closed eyes to enjoy a natural remedy for dark under eye circles.

To remedy itchy skin: During allergy season, your skin is exposed to invisible airborne allergens like pollen, mold and dust, and it’s not just your eyes that take the brunt of inflammation and dilated blood vessels caused by histamines. The skin on your face and body may also react to histamine-caused reactions that cause itching and redness, and when skin is itchy, you tend to scratch at it, causing redness and perhaps even scrapes and rawness.

The fix:

  • As soon as you get home, wash your face to remove that invisible layer of allergens and prevent them from getting on your couch, pillows, throws and clothing that you change into during comfy at-home hours.
  • Speak with your dermatologist about a soothing skin serum, perhaps one with linoleic acid to strengthen your skin’s top layer and keep allergens from penetrating your skin and getting into your system, making allergy symptoms worse.
  • Speak with your dermatologist about your unique skin sensitivities before you whip up any natural remedies you saw online, such as a yogurt mask or coconut oil application. Your dermatologist knows your skin, and can advise you on which natural ingredients might work well for you, and which might lead to more dryness or redness. For instance, one common natural ‘cure’ for dry skin is soaking cotton balls in coffee and applying to the skin, but this type of compress could add to more darkness under your eyes or on your skin in general.
  • Doctors suggest drinking tomato juice to help reduce skin redness and protect your skin with tomatoes’ natural ingredient, lycopene.
  • Talk to your doctor about any additional allergies you might have, such as to fabrics, perfumes or dyes in your laundry detergent or body lotions. That dry skin might be caused by contact dermatitis, rather than allergies. Your dermatologist can solve the mystery for you.

Some overall tips to help care for your skin during allergy season:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables to enjoy the antioxidant powers of Vitamins C and E that help reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes.
  • Stay well-hydrated.
  • Invest in wraparound sunglasses that can help prevent allergens from reaching your eyes.
  • Take warm showers, rather than hot ones that can be drying to your skin and add to inflammation, redness, dryness, and itching.
  • Apply moisturizer and sun block regularly.
  • Wash your hair before bed, to remove all allergens that may be invisibly hiding in your gorgeous locks, so that you’re not breathing them in overnight and waking up with puffy eyes and itchy skin.
  • Wash your jackets regularly to remove allergens, and when you come in from outdoors, remove your shoes so that you’re not tracking irritating pollen and mold all over your home. (Make this a family rule!)
  • If you experience any rashes, such as from irritating plants, see your dermatologist for an assessment and medical treatment, as well as home self-care advice. You don’t want poison ivy to get into your eyes.
  • Finally, if it works best for your comfort and with your lifestyle, consider avoiding the outdoors as much as possible during peak allergen hours such as morning and evenings. Check the pollen reports for your town online, and you might opt to stay comfortably indoors until those pollen counts dip.

With proper care and your dermatologists’ help, you can feel better and look better all throughout allergy season.

Recommended Posts