It’s Time to Face Allergies: A Top Dermatologist Explains How Allergies Impact Your Skin
Spring is in full bloom and that means allergies are too. It’s peak season for allergy sufferers, but most people do not realize that seasonal allergies may also affect your skin! In fact, 80% of people with allergies will experience some type of skin reaction such as red patches, a swollen eye area, itchiness, and irritation.
Whatever the symptom, this reaction alters your skin barrier function (the outermost layer of your skin which protects it from external factors.) And, if your skin has a poor barrier function, allergens and irritants are able to penetrate more easily.
Luckily, making a few changes to your beauty routine will help increase skin tolerance and combat skin sensitivity. Dr. Tamara Lazic Strugar, MD, FAAD, who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergic contact dermatitis, shares,“Patients with very sensitive skin or allergy-prone skin are more likely to experience reactivity to common products that are usually very well tolerated by normal skin. This is why I recommend using a moisturizer to strengthen the barrier that is free of ingredients that could potentially cause irritation or an allergic reaction such as fragrance, parabens, certain preservatives, and drying alcohol.”
Below, please find some interesting facts as Dr. Lazic’s top picks from La Roche-Posay, the brand dedicated to changing the lives of people with sensitive skin.
- According to the CDC, more than 50 million Americans have allergies
- According to the World Health Organization:
- Allergy is the world’s 4th public health topic
- 1 in 3 people today is allergic, and by 2050 that number is expected to grow to 1 in 2 people
- In almost 80% of cases, allergies affect the skin (Profiling of allergic and/or intolerant consumers, Qualitative study France/Germany. 2000 interrogations on-line February 2009)
- On average, allergies account for 63,000 online mentions per month (flash scan on allergies insights from social and web searches. France and USA)
“Allergies are becoming more prevalent across the globe and can be linked to a number of skin diseases. While the cause of this rise is not totally clear, it has been attributed to factors such as stress, use of antibiotics, poor nutrition, growing up in clean urban homes (also known as “the hygiene hypothesis”) and exposure to environmental pollution.
The skin barrier is the first interface between the environment and our immune system. This skin interface is constantly exposed to factors including pollution, ultraviolet radiation, but also harsh skincare products. We’ve known for quite some time that the skin barrier plays a critical role not only in keeping water in the skin but also in keeping out allergens, irritants and potential pathogens that can disrupt the immune system and lead to skin diseases such as allergic dermatitis and skin infections. Skin care products such as emollients can help restore the skin barrier, and by doing this they can both treat skin irritation, as well as potentially prevent skin allergic reactions by limiting allergens’ ability to penetrate the skin barrier.
During the COVID-19 epidemic and due to the frequent use of surgical masks, we have noticed an increase in facial skin conditions such as acne, rosacea (mostly due to friction and humidity under the mask which causes clogging of pores) and contact dermatitis (either irritant from friction and moisture or allergic due to mostly rubber or formaldehyde allergy).
I recommend protecting the skin barrier and soothing the irritated skin with La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra products that:
- Soothe: decreases skin discomforts
- Repair: restore and preserve the skin barrier function and remove allergens in contact with the skin
- Prevent: help avoid future skin allergies by reinforcing the skin barrier to limit allergens’ ability to penetrate
We have also seen a significant increase in hand dermatitis flares due to frequent hand washing and use of sanitizers which damage the skin barrier. I recommend using Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Moisturizing Cream for hand moisturizing and restoring a healthy skin microbiome.”
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Moisturizing Cream (SRP: $19.99 for 13.5oz, www.laroche-posay.us) – For Extra Dry Skin: Clinically shown to reduce dry, rough skin. Re-establishes and stabilizes the skin microbiome to prevent the reoccurrence of extra dry skin. Replenishes lipids and provides up to 48 hours of hydration. Contains exclusive Prebiotic Thermal Water and patented Aqua Posae Filiformis. Creamy, comforting balm that can be applied all over the body year-round. Received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
LA ROCHE-POSAY TOLERIANE ULTRA EYE CREAM FOR SENSITIVE SKIN ($24.99, now available in CVS, Target and on laroche-posay.us): Helps restore skin’s natural protective barrier around the eye and eyelid: a prime site for signs of irritation due to dryness, sensitivity, or visible signs of seasonal allergies on skin. This intensely soothing eye gel-cream for sensitive skin around the eyes and dry eyelids is formulated with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, neurosensine, niacinamide, and shea butter to provide immediate and lasting comfort, and without parabens, fragrance, and drying alcohol. Tested on allergy-prone skin and safe for contact lens wearers.
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LA ROCHE-POSAY TOLERIANE ULTRA NIGHT FACE MOISTURIZER ($29.99, now available in CVS, Target and on laroche-posay.us): Hydrates and helps restore skin’s natural protective barrier while skin recovers at night. This night moisturizer for ultra-sensitive skin is formulated with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, Neurosensine, Carnosine/Vitamin E, and Shea butter to provide immediate and lasting comfort. Formulated with only the essentials and without potentially-irritating ingredients such as parabens, fragrance, and drying alcohol. Tested on allergy-prone skin.
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LA ROCHE-POSAY TOLERIANE ULTRA INTENSE SOOTHING CARE MOISTURIZER ($29.99, now available in CVS, Target and on laroche-posay.us): This soothing, comforting cream moisturizer for very sensitive skin is formulated with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, Neurosensine and Shea butter to provide immediate and lasting comfort. Formulated with only the essentials and without potentially-irritating ingredients such as parabens, fragrance, and drying alcohol. Tested on allergy-prone skin.