Spring and summer are supposed to be the best seasons of the year – sunshine, beach weather, daylight savings! But it’s also when allergy season kicks in, which means your hayfever can feel out of control, your asthma can rear its head, your eczema can flare up, and as a result, your skin can feel completely out of whack as if you’re reacting to everything.
Why does skin flare up in allergy season?
Well, perhaps unsurprising to hear, this is no coincidence. According to dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald, it could be because you have atopy. “Atopy is the genetic pre-disposition to having eczema, asthma or hay fever. Those people react to the environmental allergens out there like pollen, grass, dog hair and dust mites. People sensitive to airborne allergens tend to get an increase in the histamine in their body, and basically that makes your skin feel itchy and irritated, and you get watery eyes and an itchy nose and body. It makes everything that is already inflamed more irritated,” she says.
So what does this have to do with your skin? Dr McDonald explains, “What happens, basically, is that those people in allergy season start to get itchy and they start rubbing their skin and putting stuff on their skin to try and calm it down. But this can irritate it more. And then all of a sudden, their skin becomes intolerant because it’s been flared up through this allergy season.”
What to do if your skin becomes irritated during allergy season
“You’ve got to think of your skin as being your barrier to the outside world and if you can reinforce that barrier, you can reduce the effect of those environmental allergens, and the effect they have on you,” says Dr McDonald.
“I would say there are two things you have to do: One, you have to protect it, and secondly, you have to repair it or reduce inflammation. In terms of skincare, using ingredients like vitamin B, will help reduce inflammation, and using sun protection and moisturiser to protect the skin barrier.”
Dr McDonald recommends (temporarily) ditching the skin care and makeup products you were using before the reaction and stripping back your skincare routine to just a cream cleanser and moisturiser with low-irritant and fragrance-free formulas.
Replace your current cleanser with La Roche-Posay Toleriane Caring Wash, a soap-free, preservative-free and fragrance-free face wash that will remove impurities and makeup without leaving skin dry or tight, all while soothing any redness and repairing the skin.
Then, complete your simple, two-step routine with La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Moisturiser, an intensive dermatological moisturiser for ultra-sensitive, allergy-prone skin that helps restore your skin back to its former glory.
Its minimalist formula is enriched with Neurosensine™, which soothes the skin and offers both immediate and lasting relief to leave your skin feeling calmer. It also contains La Roche-Posay’s iconic thermal spring water that’s naturally rich in selenium to help soothe and reduce irritation; as well as glycerin and shea butter to help hydrate skin and restore the skin’s barrier function. Of course, what’s not in the formula is important, too. It’s free from fragrance, alcohol, parabens, colourants, preservatives and lanolin.
And if that’s not enough info to convince you that this unassuming bottle could be the solution to your sensitive skin woes, it may help to know that it’s been clinically tested on allergic and atopic skin and was found to reduce discomfort from skin conditions in 84 per cent of subjects (and 95 per cent of participants said it improved their quality of life)*.
If you prefer to use a different moisturiser for day and night, swap out the Toleriane Ultra Moisturiser for the Toleriane Ultra Overnight Moisturiser during your nighttime routine: it’s a richer cream that’ll care for and repair your skin while you sleep.
But what about wearing makeup if you have allergy-prone skin?
We’d all love to have the confidence to strut around makeup-free at the best of times, but when your face is red and blotchy it’s the last thing you want to do. And Dr McDonald gets that it could be tough to go cold turkey on cosmetics.
“When people are really flared up, I try to get them to only use the things they absolutely have to. Of course, that’s difficult for some people, but minimising the number of things you put on your face completely helps. If you need to use makeup, make sure it’s only a makeup [formulated] for sensitive skin and you’re not using excess things for the short period of time while [your skin] calms down.”
So, instead of using your go-to foundation, swap it for the lightweight La Roche-Posay Toleriane Teint Fluid Corrective Foundation. Besides the fact that it’s part of the Toleriane range and has a lot of the same benefits as the Ultra Moisturiser (such as Neurosensine™ and La Roche-Posay’s thermal spring water to help relieve skin irritation and soothe and decrease redness), it also offers a full-coverage finish to help hide any obvious signs of your reaction.
And because we all need a little length and definition in our lashes, use the La Roche-Posay Respectissime Sensitive Volume Mascara. A godsend to anyone who suffers from itchy, irritated eyes during allergy season, the ophthalmologically-tested and pH-balanced mascara will give lashes volume without the irritation.
We know that’s a lot to absorb, but if your skin tends to misbehave during allergy season (or just in general), it’s worth understanding why and how to treat it. And if you remember nothing else, follow this advice from Dr McDonald the next time your skin has a reaction: “Stop all the current products and just use products for sensitive skin, and try to see a dermatologist.”
Do you suffer from sensitive, allergy-prone skin? Please share with us in the comments section below.
*Clinical results from a Symptom Relief study conducted on 3800 subjects with sensitive and reactive skin
Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.