Skin allergies? Hay fever causing havoc in your skin?

Have you had a problem with a product that you were fine with before and you’re not sure what happened?

Are you lately experiencing itchy, red, reactive skin or have suddenly come up in hives or a rash from hay fever? 

Here in Australia we are in the middle of spring, flowers are blooming, and the occasionally windy days don’t help at all. It is a high pollen season and you may be having a histamine reaction, which is very common at this time of the year.

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What can happen is that if you are exposed to high amounts of pollens and allergens you may get elevated histamine in your system. Most people cope with it fine, but some not so good. You may or may not have been displaying symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as a runny nose, itchy watery, or puffy eyes, sneezing or headaches and blocked sinuses, or even skin rashes.

Using very active skin care or having an invasive treatment done that you are usually fine with, may be just the tipping point for your skin if you have elevated histamines in your body. There is nothing wrong with the product or the treatment, it’s just that if you have high histamine in your body, your skin may react to products you are usually fine with. 

When I deal with skin care clients who are predisposed to seasonal allergies, I suggest they see a pharmacist and seek advice on how to reduce and better manage their allergies. Regarding skin care and professional treatments, I advise they stay away from anything that activates or stimulates the skin for example AHAs, retinoids, and highly perfumed products. In treatments, I focus on reducing inflammation, improving hydration, and repairing & strengthening the barrier. For home care and professional treatments I recommend products that are anti-inflammatory, hydrating, skin repairing and choose fragrance free where possible. 

Here are some ingredients I look for in skin care products that are anti-irritant:

• Hyaluronic acid – hydrating and cooling
• Aloe vera – anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, healing
• Bisabolol – chamomile extract, soothing, anti-irritant
• Allantoin – soothing, decongesting
• Beta-glucan – soothing, hydrating, antioxidant
• Polysaccharides – hydrating, soothing
• Green tea – anti-inflammatory, soothing, antioxidant
• Borage seed extract – anti-inflammatory, soothing
• Co-enzyme Q10 – antioxidant, soothing
• Cornflower – soothing
• Evening primrose oil – soothing, barrier repair, emollient
• Glycyrrhetic acid – extract from licorice, soothing
• Licorice – soothing
• Linoleic acid – emollient, soothing, barrier repair
• Mallow – soothing
• Matricaria flower extract – soothing
• Niacinamide – soothing, barrier repair
• Oatmeal - soothing, anti-inflammatory
• Soy extracts – barrier repair, soothing, antioxidant
• Zinc & zinc oxide – antioxidant, soothing, anti-inflammatory
• Saccharides – hydrating, soothing, barrier repair
• Shea butter – soothing, barrier repair
• Squalane/squalene – soothing, skin repairing, antioxidant

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