How Seasonal Allergies Affect Your Skin, and What to Do About It

Allergy season is here, on top of everything. With that comes sneezing and dry eyes, or maybe itchy skin and puffy eyes. While at home in quarantine, it can be difficult to know what to do about it on your own. But a few skin experts have some solutions and home remedies to help alleviate persistent itchiness and puffiness.

“80% of people with allergies will experience some type of skin reaction such as red patches, a swollen eye area, itchiness, and irritation,” says Dr. Tamara Lazic Strugar MD, FAAD, who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergic contact dermatitis. “These reactions alter your skin barrier function. If your skin has a poor barrier function, allergens and irritants are able to penetrate more easily.” To protect the skin’s barrier during this time, Dr. Lazic recommends the La Roche-Posay Toleriane line as the products are “free of ingredients that could potentially cause irritation or an allergic reaction such as fragrance, parabens, certain preservatives, and drying alcohol.”

Oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, founder of epi.logic skincare, recommends calming and hydrating the itchy skin. She suggests using PCA Skin’s CliniCalm as it features 1% hydrocortisone, “a potent corticosteroid that relieves itching.” It also includes hyaluronic acid and honey, “which provide much needed hydration and barrier support.” Otherwise, she says you can make an at-home mixture of over-the-counter drugstore hydrocortisone cream with a hypoallergenic moisturizer like Aquaphor. “You’ll get the same relief, with just a little more effort on your part.” Jeanniton also notes that, although cortisone is very effective, it shouldn’t be used for long periods of time as you will risk thinning the skin; limit use to under a week.

When it comes to puffy eyes, Jeanniton suggests a cool compress. “The cold restricts circulation and will help calm down the inflammation and discomfort that comes with eye allergies.” She also recommends keeping a bottle of lubricating eye drops in the refrigerator: “The comfort you’ll get from a chilled eye drop when battling eye allergies is unparalleled.”

For a solution that goes beyond skin-level, there’s Hilma, a new holistic supplement brand on a mission to make your medicine cabinet a bit chicer. They just launched their latest allergy support supplement, Indoor/Outdoor, which is packed with Tinospora, Nettles, Butterbur, and Spirulina. Dr. Neeta Ogden, who is part of Hilma's scientific advisory board, often recommends these ingredients to her patients who are trying to get to the root of their sinus issues. To soothe the skin in tandem with the supplement, Dr. Ogden suggests mixing Cerave with a few drops of eucalyptus or aloe, or adding a tiny amount to your existing moisturizer or balm and patting on the face.