It’s officially allergy season, and most of us have the tissues and antihistamines within arm’s reach. While we may be prepared for what allergies do to our eyes, nose, and head (i.e., sinus headache), we usually don’t prepare for what they do to our skin. Let’s take a look at how allergies affect skin and how to remedy it.
Those with sensitive skin or those who have dealt with eczema as a child or adult are bound to have a flare-up during allergy season. We don’t know exactly what causes eczema, but those with the condition tend to have a lack of filaggrin. Filaggrin is responsible for keeping our skin hydrated. Without it, the skin dries out and becomes itchy. Not surprisingly, it can make the skin more sensitive to seasonal allergens like dust and pollen, opening the door to an eczema flare-up. To avoid this, be sure to moisturize regularly. You can also wear clothing made of light natural materials like cotton to protect your skin from irritating fabrics and outside elements. Sunscreen will also serve as a reliable eczema treatment and can help save your skin from additional triggers.
Hives are the result of a topical substance that has triggered an allergic reaction and raised your body’s number of histamines present. Histamines are organic compounds in your system that appear as part of the body’s local immune response. More specifically, it jumps into action during an inflammatory response. When your body becomes inflamed, especially through a topical disturbance (e.g., creams, soaps, and clothing you may be allergic to), histamines flood the area, causing a breakout of hives. Allergy season can cause the same skin disturbance, resulting in a hives outbreak.
As if the skin around our eyes wasn’t sensitive enough, it gets a double dose of trouble during allergy season. All of the dust and pollen in the air disturbs our eyes, making them burn and become watery and red. Just like any other allergy reaction, the body sends the histamine troops marching toward the eyes. This causes redness and burning. It’s often very difficult to withstand such discomfort, so many of us scratch and rub our burning eyes. Not only does this further irritate them, but it serves as punishment for the skin around the eyes too. Rubbing and scratching can make the skin appear puffy and dark. If the onslaught doesn’t cease, it can cause long-term discoloration and wrinkling, making your eyes look older.
You can limit the redness and puffiness by refraining from rubbing and itching. You can also get over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl or Claritin. These medications can reduce the amount of histamines in your system and lessen the severity of your symptoms but speak with a doctor before starting either.
It’s clear that the skin takes as much beating as your sinuses during allergy season. To find out how to prevent allergy-related skin damage and for possible treatment options, our dermatologists at The Dermatology Group can offer you advice, resources, and treatment. Give us a call today!