How to treat your skin during hayfever season

Ah, early summer – the days are longer, it’s warm, but not too hot, and everything is in bloom. While we love spring and early summer, we don’t enjoy the hayfever season. There are far worse things in the world, but pollen allergies are so bloody annoying and uncomfortable. Itchy eyes (or in our case, just one eye?), runny and itchy nose, sensitive skin, occasional wheezing. It’s just as delightful as it sounds. Unfortunately, it can run from May until September, depending on what you react to. Grass pollen is out in full force from May until July. Various tree pollen is in the air from February until June, while weed season is upon us from June to September.

The question is, what can we do to power through it?

What happens when we react to pollen?

For the majority of people, pollen is safe and non-irritating. But for some of us, our bodies react when exposed to pollen. The immune system goes into overdrive and releases histamine. Cue – sneezing, runny and itchy eyes, etc. It also impacts our skin, making it more sensitised and prone to irritation from external factors. Dryness, dehydration, puffiness, redness are all common in people who suffer from allergies.

If your allergies and hayfever are particularly bad, talk to your GP. They can prescribe antihistamine tablets, as well as eye drops and nasal sprays that can calm down the symptoms. That said, in our case, antihistamine makes our skin even drier and dehydrated (the JOY!).

The lockdown measures have eased, but you still need to go outside. Carry eye drops with you, as these will soothe the eyes and make the itching more tolerable. Also, wear sunglasses.
Nasal sprays can help with the runny and itchy nose. They will ease congestion and soothe inflammation. Another thing you can try is dabbing a little bit of a hydrating balm on your nostrils. If your nose is red and sore, baby bottom ointment overnight will do the trick. Likewise, you can use a cotton bud and dab a little bit of balm in your nose, as this will trap the pollen.

Once you get home, have a shower, and change your clothes to get all that pollen off. Another thing to consider is drying your laundry inside (rather than outside). It prevents pollen from getting on your clothes, towels, and bedding.

Hayfever and skincare

Let’s talk cleansing. Now is not the time for harsh cleansers and/or makeup removers, especially around your eye area. Gentle cleansers are your best option as they serve a dual purpose. They will not irritate the skin further and will help repair the moisture barrier.

The eye area will need delicate care, so look for cooling, de-puffing eye products like gels with rollerball applicators. These will cool the skin and help ease the puffiness.

Soothe your skin with a hydrating serum or a facial mask (or a combo of both). For skin that feels uncomfortable and tight, look for a barrier repairing ingredients like ceramides and urea. Also, anti-inflammatory ingredients can help (like Aloe, Green tea extract, or Bisabolol, for example). Seal it all in with a light, yet soothing moisturiser.

Don’t forget your body, too. Gentle, pH friendly body gels and nourishing body lotion will help keep your skin comfortable.

What should you avoid during the hayfever season? Alcohol and fragrance in products can make the skin even more dry, dehydrated, and irritated. Another thing to consider is not to go overboard with actives, as you don’t want to disrupt your moisture barrier even further.

How do you deal with the hayfever season? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?

Roberta Striga