We all want flawless looking skin. There is a long list of factors such as lack of sleep, change in hormones and amount of water intake that can get in your way. One important and often overlooked item on this list is seasonal allergies.
Why Your Skin Gets Itchy
Seasonal allergies to airborne substances like pollen can cause watery eyes and sneezing. This irritation can make your skin itchier and your complexion redder.
Your skin’s reaction to allergies can cause hives, scaly patches and eczema. According to Dr. Marie Hayag, a board-certified dermatologist, “These skin reactions may be painful and itchy, causing you to scratch and damage your skin, which can lead to scarring or prolonged skin sensitivity.”
The science behind this is fairly simple. When you breathe in allergens like dust and pollen, you start a chain reaction in your immune system. Your immune system’s goal is to protect your body; it does this by producing antibodies, which stimulate histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. While fighting off these allergens, the histamine causes inflammation, which in turn causes the skin to become more sensitive resulting in redness, itching and irritation.
The Connection Between Eczema and Allergies
Studies have discovered that atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is usually found in people with a family history of allergies. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital explains, “We know that there’s a link between sensitive skin and eczema, asthma, and seasonal allergies. These three conditions genetically run together and are known as an atopic diathesis.”
Since allergies, eczema and asthma are usually found together, there is very likely a genetic component. More testing is needed to confirm this.
A popular theory is that a lack of filaggrin, a protein that keeps your skin hydrated, is to blame. Dr. Hayag explains, “Those who don’t make enough filaggrin lose more water from their skin, causing dryness and itchiness due to eczema. The lack of filaggrin also makes skin more susceptible to allergens like dust and pollen.”
While you cannot prevent environmental allergies, you can take some precautions to limit your exposure. On days with high pollen counts, stay inside, close your windows and keep your air conditioning running.
You can prevent dust mites by washing your pillows and sheets in hot water and placing dust mite-proof covers on your mattress.
Use products that are free of fragrance and dyes and avoid harsh ingredients.
For those with dry, itchy skin, you want to minimize scratching. You can do this by taking baths and keeping your skin moisturized.
To learn more about treating seasonal allergies, contact the experts at Central Plains ENT.