An allergy is our body’s response to a foreign substance, and comes about when our immune system reacts to these substances, or allergens, by producing antibodies, that trigger cells to fight the foreign substance. These cells then release histamine, which can cause inflammation in your sinuses, airways, digestive system, and your skin.
According to the Allergy & Asthma Network, about 50 million people suffer from seasonal allergies which results in their skin barrier function impacted—from itchy problems like eczema and hives.
How Our Skin React to Allergies
Allergic dermatitis, or unexplained red, itchy skin, happens when your skin is exposed to an allergen. This is called a type IV, delayed-type reaction and often doesn’t occur with the first exposure to the allergen but rather with repeat exposure. This comes about when your immune system produces an inflammatory reaction and releases histamines, which causes blood to rush to your skin and results in symptoms like redness, blistering, swelling, hives, and itching.
Managing Allergic Reactions
As with any allergy, it is best to avoid the allergen or trigger. If avoidance isn’t possible, then reparative skincare is your best bet. In addition to topical steroid or hydrocortisone creams for the itch, a simple skincare routine of washing with plain water and restoring your skin barrier with gentle cleansers, hydrating ceramides, and emollient creams is the way to go, because right now, the objective is to repair your skin’s barrier. Just be sure to avoid anything with essential oils or fragrances, as it can further irritate the skin.
Moreover, if you’re experiencing skin irritation caused by allergies, you should pause on using products with retinoids and acids, like AHAs and BHAs, which could cause further redness, tightness, and inflammation.
The best way to stop the spread of an allergy-induced skincare breakout is to avoid itching at all costs. This is because the skin protects our bodies from environmental factors, so when you’re scratching continuously, it results in damage to the skin barrier and allows bacteria and other pathogens to enter and cause potential infection.