Despite the routine occurrence, I find myself surprised by allergy season every year. And despite my best efforts to mitigate its effects, I’m often plagued not only by typical symptoms like itchy eyes and sneezes, but skin issues as well. Breakouts, irritation, rough skin and dry, flaky patches appear out of nowhere and, frustratingly, can take weeks to resolve. But, as it turns out, with a little bit of foresight and gentle care, it is possible to soothe irritated, allergy-prone skin and prevent the dermatological flare-ups that I’ve experienced during allergy season.
According to Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, a dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, symptoms like mine are not uncommon. Many people develop rashes, itchy red swollen areas like hives or dry, itchy eczematous patches during allergy season. Other times, seasonal allergies can lead to itchy skin without the visual presence of a rash. Additionally, “any part of the body can be involved in an allergic reaction including the eyes and lips,” said Murphy-Rose. “Redness, itchiness, ‘dryness’ or scaling, and swelling are all common symptoms of [seasonal] allergies.”
If you suffer from the same thing and want to alleviate irritation, Murphy-Rose recommends looking for hypoallergenic products that contain gentle ingredients, and avoiding those that contain fragrances and dyes. She also said “the same applies for not only skin care products, but also for hair care and laundry detergent and other laundry products” as well. If your skin irritation persists, you probably want to check in with your dermatologist to make sure it’s not a more serious condition.
Keeping these guidelines in mind, we curated a list of skin care products inspired by Murphy-Rose’s recommendations, along with some products that I swear by for soothing my skin during allergy season. They run the gamut from moisturizers to serums, eye cream, a healing mask and more. Stock up now to keep them on hand before disaster strikes and you find yourself in the grips of allergy-season skin.
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SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide cream
I've found that allergies throw my natural moisture barrier out of wack, and this ultra-nourishing cream from Skinfix brings it right back to where it belongs without causing breakouts or adding to the irritation. Drench your skin in this; it's formulated to hydrate and plump up even the driest damaged skin, utilizing the help of peptides, hyaluronic acid, rich shea butter and active lipids. It's just as gentle as it is hydrating and healing.
Bioderma Sensibio H20 micellar water cleanser
This French pharmacy staple is an absolute dream for anyone who has been trying to find a gentle yet effective makeup remover that works without any tugging, rubbing or irritation that can exacerbate already-inflamed skin during allergy season. Micellar watercontains tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules called micelles that are suspended in soft water. The micelles are said to be attracted to dirt and oil, so they can grab onto and remove makeup without drying skin. With the swipe of a cotton round, Sensibio micellar water melts away foundation, lipstick or balms and even the toughest waterproof mascara. It easily dissolves makeup, grime and any other icky-ness that has settled onto your skin without stripping its natural moisture barrier or leaving a film of grease afterward. It’s the cleanest-feeling makeup remover I’ve ever used.
iS Clinical Pro-Heal serum
This powerful serum is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but it's worth it for the results. It's rich with antioxidants like vitamin C as well as botanicals that can help to treat acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, bug bites and general redness that can arise as a result of seasonal allergies. Zinc helps to reduce inflammation while kojic acid prevents blemishes and vitamins E and A hydrate, heal and neutralize free radicals. It's ideal for sensitive, compromised and irritated skin.
Doré Le Cleanser
If you prefer a traditional facial cleanser but are wary of foaming types that may further strip your skin of its natural moisture barrier, then check out this gel-to-milk cleanser from the new-ish brand Doré. It's vegan, gluten-free and fragrance-free, which dermatologist Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose noted is key for sensitive and seasonal-allergy-prone skin. It's gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin and hydrating and strong enough to melt away makeup and sunscreen.
Dieux Instant Angel moisturizer
This moisturizer’s main mission is to work as a heavy duty barrier protector, which can really help keep irritation from getting even worse during allergy season. It drenches the skin with a blend of nourishing active ingredients that support and repair at the same time. Its power lies in its thoughtfully curated and thoroughly tested ingredient list. (On its site, the brand carefully explains the function of each and every ingredient and how they all work together to create a high-quality product.) A gentle blend of phytosterols, free fatty acids, meadowestolide, ceramides, glycerin, squalane and more do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. It feels rich and creamy, which initially stressed me out. But it sinks into the skin beautifully, leaving my complexion soft, glowy and hydrated, never oily. Despite my propensity for breakouts, it didn’t cause any issues. It’s nourishing, soothing, and, miraculously, doesn’t clog my pores.
Cetaphil hydrating eye gel-cream
Specially formulated to be non-irritating, this hydrating gel cream soothes dry under-eyes without adding to potential irritation in the area. It uses hyaluronic acid to gently moisturize, is lightweight and absorbs quickly so you aren't left with sticky residue. It has a hypoallergenic formula that, according to Murphy-Rose, can help mitigate the effects of seasonal allergies.
Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair serum in cream treatment
If you're looking to drop some change on a truly effective product, then this treatment may be the one for you. It's a serum and moisturizer in one that, according to reviewers
, visibly soothes, calms and restores irritated skin. The brand promises the formula will strengthen the moisture barrier and help balance the skin's microbiome, easing irritation, dryness and tightness as a result of pollution or environmental stressors, including allergies.
Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with avocado
I live for this eye cream, and find it to be hugely helpful when allergy season compromises my skin as a whole. It's ultra-hydrating and creamy, with a delicious texture that feels like a dream. It can help to hydrate, smooth and brighten the entire under-eye area on even the itchiest of days without adding to the irritation. In line with Murphy-Rose's suggestion, it has a really gentle formula and is fragrance-free.
True Botanicals pure radiance oil
Made with a whopping 27 plant actives like nutrient-rich and potent calendula, cucumber seed, organic hemp, jojoba seed and fresh ginger root oils, this oil blend is a hydrating, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic dream. It's a great way to add extra moisture to your routine by slapping it on over your nightly moisturizer, without feeling weighed down or causing further irritation.
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Advanced Repair barrier cream
For anyone seeking deep, restorative hydration, this barrier repair cream is a must. It's great for dry patches, irritated skin and anyone who needs to add an extra dollop of moisture to their routine. Colloidal oatmeal and beta-glucan help soothe, reduce redness and support the skin's natural barrier. It's just as nourishing and effective as pricey creams like SkinFix and Sunday Riley, but it won't leave you panicking about the cost.
SkinFix Redness Recovery + Antioxidant Redness Treatment mask
But if you're a fan of SkinFix's juicy, soothing formulas, then this treatment mask is a great option for adding a bit of extra relief to your routine. It's a creamy gel overnight mask with actives like green tea and a honey and peptide complex that can help calm, soothe and reduce visible redness while protecting against environmental stress.
Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturizer
This hypoallergenic moisturizer is infused with green tea, AHAs, vitamin E, squalane and hydrating olive polyphenols that promise to leave skin deeply nourished, hydrated and soothed. It helps to strengthen the skin and can have a delightfully healing effect.
Glossier After Baume moisture barrier recovery cream
Swathe your achy skin in this moisture barrier recovery cream from Glossier. It has a lush, buttery formula made with plant-based ingredients like glycerin and cupuaçu butter that can seal in moisture. It can help skin get back to its bouncy, hydrated self.