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Connecting Seasonal Allergies and Sensitive Skin

Those with seasonal allergies know just how annoying it can be to have something as seemingly innocuous as a tree or grass fully knock you out. To make matters worse, Payel Gupta, MD, a board-certified allergist and immunologist for Get Cleared, says you’re also more likely to experience contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction on the skin, from certain beauty products if you have seasonal allergies.

“People with seasonal allergies are atopic people—which means they are allergic people and will have a higher tendency to have other allergic conditions like contact dermatitis,” says Dr. Gupta. “People with seasonal allergies don’t have any particular chemical or product that they react to over others but they just are more sensitive in general.”

One product type you want to look out for is plant-based items.

“Plant-based products where the actual grass or plants are mixed into creams and lotions—this can definitely be an irritant for those with allergies to these pollens depending on how they are made,” says Dr. Gupta.

Eye makeup products containing beeswax can also be irritating, explains Diane Hilal-Campo, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist in New Jersey. “[People] who have pollen allergies will have a very bad reaction to beeswax, and a lot of mascaras use beeswax, so at the end of the day, their eyes will be very irritated,” Dr. Hilal-Campo, founder of eye-friendly makeup brand Twenty/Twenty Beauty previously told Well+Good.

So if you have seasonal allergies and are noticing skin sensitivities, Dr. Gupta says it’s a good idea to keep your routine more minimal.

“For people with sensitive skin, I recommend sticking to products that contain minimal ingredients and definitely no fragrance, as this is a common irritant for many people. Also, be wary of ‘natural’ products in general as they often contain just as many chemicals as other products,” says Dr. Gupta. “Usually with contact dermatitis, it takes several days for the reaction to appear as your body becomes sensitive to an ingredient in the product. That is why sometimes it is difficult to figure out what may be causing the reaction you are having. You may have used the products days before your actual reaction.”

For the face, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream ($22 to $72) is a great moisturizing option. For the body, consider trying out the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Moisturizing Cream ($20). Both are fragrance-free, soothing, and great for sensitive skin. If you often have itchy, dry, and irritated eyes, try out the products from Dr. Hilal-Campo’s line, like the Twenty/Twenty Beauty Clean Sweep Mascara ($28).

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