How Seasonal Allergies Affect Your Skin

Sep. 29, 2020
Itchy, watery eyes. Runny noses and sneezing fits. Coughing and scratchy throat. Does this sound like Fall to you? It does to me- and many of us are used to our allergies by now. But did you know that your allergies could be affecting how your skin looks? Here are 4 ways our skin reacts to seasonal allergies, and how to treat it. 
Dark Under-Eyes
Allergies can have us feeling run-down, and what’s worse is how they can contribute to our dark circles. Any type of congestion you have in your nose can cause the small veins under your eyes to swell and dilate, leading to a darker shadow around the preorbital bone. Rubbing your eyes when they are itchy can cause puffiness too, which only makes the darkness more apparent. 
To treat these annoying symptoms, visit your local drugstore and pick up a nasal decongestant and some itch-relief eye drops. First of all, you’ll sleep better. Secondly, you will have less of the symptoms that are causing your dark under-eyes. Upping the hydration you apply around your eyes is always a great idea too! You can read more about how to treat dark circles here:
Dry, Flaky, Irritated Skin Around the Nose
Rubbing your eyes and blowing your nose all the time is absolute chaos for the surrounding skin. I’m sure you’ve noticed the red, angry skin around your nose after spending a day sneezing and using tissues. While allergies can be tougher to treat for some, most of us can find relief with over-the-counter allergy meds. If your allergies are particularly resistant, visiting your doctor for a prescription suited to you may be helpful. 
In order to address the red and flaky skin around your nose, keep harsh products far, far away. A hydrating cleanser and simple moisturizer is plenty. If you can’t stop sneezing, enlist the help of an occlusive to protect the skin around your nose. Aquaphor or vaseline works great in a pinch. 
*Pro Tip: apply Aquaphor around your nose before going out into cold weather. This will act as a layer of protection for your skin against the chill! Aquaphor comes in a plethora of sizes, so you will be able to find one for your pocket or purse easily. You can also apply it on your lips after lip balm as the best chapped-lip deterrent. 
Dry Skin
With seasonal allergies come colder weather. Frigid temperatures can strip your skin of its moisture in a matter of hours. Cooler weather causes the water to evaporate out of our skin much faster than in the summer, so make sure you have a good hydration routine going into winter. Incorporate things like hydration masks, overnight masks, a thicker P.M moisturizer, hydrating toners or essences, and an occlusive layer, like Aquaphor, for dry patches. 
For my body, I really like exfoliation gloves, the ones you can get for super cheap at Walgreens or CVS. Just put your body wash on them, lather, and scrub away! Make sure to follow up with a thick lotion or body cream after each exfoliating session. You should only need to use the gloves about 1x per week.

St. Ives Smoothing body lotion ~$3.99 USD and Hempz Original Body Lotion ~$10-$25 USD (depending on where you buy, I buy from Amazon)

These sheet masks from Amazon are my favorite for a dry face. They do have fragrance, although it doesn't bother my skin at all, unlike some fragranced products. They are extremely hydrating, make my skin feel plump and soft, and consistently make me fall asleep while wearing them (they are cool and relaxing). Each mask has aloe, glycerine, and collagen, making them great for dry skin and irritation. Plus, you get SO many for such a great price.

Dermal Collagen Essence Masks ~$9 USD for 16 masks!

*Pro Tip: Hyaluronic acid deserves all the hype it gets. It can bind 1000x its weight in water! Just be sure to apply it to damp skin and layer on a thick moisturizer on top to seal it in. If you apply it alone to dry skin it can actually make your skin dryer. 
Eczema Flare-Ups
If you have eczema, you have probably noticed that it gets worse in the cooler months. But allergies can cause a flare-up at any time of the year! Your body reacts to allergens in the air and pumps out histamines, which can cause your eczema to act up as well. 
For eczema on the body (for me, it’s my hands specifically) I find that a product with lactic acid works well at reducing itchiness and dryness, and for hydrating. AmLactin Ultra Smoothing Cream has a high concentration of sodium lactate, combined with humectants to trap moisture. For eczema on the face, you can try hydrocortisone creams to help with the itchiness, and make sure to moisturize 2-3 times a day, but visiting a dermatologist is ideal.

AmLactin Ultra Smoothing Cream ~$6.89 USD

Final Thoughts
Allergies are crazy annoying, and the fact that they can negatively affect your skin is downright hateful. A lot of the side effects of allergies are treatable, you may just need to play around to find the combination that works for you. I'm interested to see If anyone reading this has their own tried-and-true method for dry hands in the winter. Let me know so I can try it!
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