Have you ever thought about the role of skincare during hay fever and allergy season? It may be not be immediately obvious, but hear us out. Those who suffer from allergies during the warm season are well aware of the symptoms: your nose is either blocked or runny, your throat feels impossibly itchy, and your eyes won’t stop watering. Those who don’t suffer can, at the very least, recognize those who suffer by the chapped nose, red eyes, and tissue always in hand–oh, and the constant sneezing, of course.
This overall picture can wreak havoc on your skin by itself, but there are still people who suffer from extra symptoms: itching, redness, and hives are all relatively common.
If these signs sound familiar, we’re here to help you survive this truly annoying season. Just keep in mind, of course, that skincare won’t cure your allergies. First, make sure you are properly medicated for your allergies. Then, yes, consider applying some of these skincare tips in your day-to-day life:
1. Use a very gentle skin cleanser
You skin may be a lot more reactive during hay fever season, so make sure to balance things out with a gentle skincare routine. Cleansing can be a pretty aggressive step for many people with dry and sensitive skin, so try to be extra gentle during this period.
Wash your face with lukewarm water and use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, such as the Frezyderm Mild Wash Foam. If you wear makeup and need an effective makeup remover, choose a nourishing cleansing oil or balm, such as the Sensilis Calm In Balm. This way, you can remove your makeup very very gently, all the while soothing your skin.
And don’t forget about bath time! For cleansing the body, we recommend a gentle body wash, such as the Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Body Wash, formulated with oatmeal.
2. Moisturize daily
If your allergy symptoms include a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing fits, chances are your skin is suffering from dryness and dehydration. To prevent and correct some of this dryness, it’s important that you stay on top of your moisturizing routine.
You can choose a fragrance-free moisturizer that provides intense hydration while soothing the skin and reducing sensitivity. We like the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Sensitive for the face, and the Bioderma Atoderm PP Baume for the body.
3. Apply an anti-itching cream
Itching can be one of the most annoying symptoms that accompanies the allergy season. If the itching gets really uncomfortable, skincare can help. Try applying a product with calamine on the affected areas. Two of our favorites are the Martiderm Calamine Plus Regenerating Cream and the Uriage Pruriced Gel.
4. Use a soothing mist or thermal water
Take it from this author and her many years of hay fever experience: when you’re breaking out in hives, a soothing spray is your best friend.
Nowadays, there are plenty of different face mists and thermal water sprays on the market, and you can use almost all of them to refresh your skin and get some relief. The main benefit of this type of product is that you don’t need to touch your skin to apply it–so you won’t trigger even more itchiness and irritation.
The Sensilis The Cool Rescue Hydra-Soothing Mist or the Uriage Thermal Water Spray are both great options. Keep one of these in your bag when you’re feeling particularly allergic, and use it as often as necessary throughout the day. You’ll feel the difference!
5. Take care of your eyes
Hay fever can really do a number on your eyes. Redness around the eyes is a typical sign of hay fever, and it’s annoying enough, but add to that itchiness and constantly watery eyes, and you have a recipe for disaster. If you rub your eyes to get some relief, you’ll end up making the redness worse–not to mention the dark circles and eye bags that often follow a vigorous eye rubbing session.
All things considered, you understand why taking care of the skin around your eyes, which is extraordinarily delicate, is so important during allergy season. We recommend using a soothing eye cream–ideally, one that is formulated for sensitive skin and can also be applied to the upper eyelid. In this category, we like the SVR Topialyse Palpebral or the LETI AT4 Atopic Skin Eyelid Gel. And if you’re up against dark circles and puffiness due to congestion in the eye area, try the Sesderma Glicare Eye and Lip Contour Gel.
6. Choose an eye-friendly sunscreen
During allergy season, it’s always a good idea to adopt a more gentle and minimalist skincare routine. This may mean leaving some products behind, but sunscreen is undoubtedly one of the ones you should keep.
Now, we all know that sunscreen can be a little sensitizing around the eyes; if your eyes are already sensitive and watery, you want to avoid this effect as much as possible. A good way to do this is to use “eye-friendly” sunscreen products, such as the Eucerin Sun Sensitive Protect Cream SPF50+ or the La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid Fragrance-Free SPF50+.
7. Protect your nose
The nose suffers horribly with hay fever, both inside and out. Now, we’re not going to recommend anything to use inside your nose, as that’s definitely out of the realm of skincare, but we can share a tip that’s been doing the rounds (and which is even recommended by the UK’s NHS). Here it goes: dab some petroleum jelly around your nostrils to help trap pollen before you inhale it. The less pollen you inhale, the better you’ll do during allergy season!
Let’s now focus on the skin of your nose. If, when you have allergies, you spend your life blowing your nose or dabbing at it with tissue, you know how the skin suffers. Chapped, red, and irritated skin around the nose is very common, but there are products that can bring some relief. For this area, we like the LETIbalm Repair Balm and the Neutrogena Balm Nose and Lips.
8. Wash your hands regularly
Our last tip against hay fever is very simple: wash your hands often. Because pollen can collect on your skin, make sure you wash your hands throughout the day (especially before touching your nose or eyes), and immediately when you get home at the end of the day. Choose a gentle hand wash that won’t dry out your hands, such as the Pestle & Mortar Essentials The Hand Wash, or the HAAN Sunset Fleur Hydrating Aloe Vera Gel Hand Soap.
Hopefully these skincare tips will help you make it through the allergy season in the best possible way. Basically, the most important thing is to make your skincare routine as simple and soothing as possible, so as not to aggravate the sensitive state of your skin. Once you’re safely out of the woods, consider adding a repairing moisturizer to your routine, just to make sure your skin recovers in full!
Beauty Writer & Editor