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I personally love trees, plants and flowers, but unfortunately they don’t always love me back – especially in the springtime when it seems that all of nature is fully in bloom. Those who suffer with seasonal allergies – also referred to as hay fever and allergic rhinitis – know that while spring certainly isn’t the only season that presents a slew of unpleasant symptoms from relentless sneeze attacks and crippling nasal congestion to exhaustion and nagging post-nasal drip, it is undoubtedly the time of year most associated with blossoming and blooming, and therefore pollen. Even if you’ve tried taking an over-the-counter allergy pill, it can still be hard to figure out how to hide allergy symptoms with beauty products. But first, a little background info to explain just how pollen is capable of making us feel and look like we have the actual flu.
From (approximately) March to May trees, weeds, and other floral and fauna emit proteins into the air to help accelerate the fertilization process. As a result, these allergy-inducing compounds (most commonly tree and grass pollen) become highly concentrated in the air we breathe – especially when the wind picks up.These allergens wreak havoc on our overall wellbeing (yes, they can also cause brain fog, low energy and depression too according to some clinical studies) by tricking our immune systems into thinking that we’re being confronted a dangerous virus, and therefore attempting to attack it by releasing a chemical called histamine to keep us safe from harm, leading to major inflammation. In other words, allergy sufferers get to reap the wonderful symptoms of a bona-fide upper respiratory cold without actually even having a virus. And as if this weren’t enough, not only can seasonal allergies make us feel awful, but it can also take a toll on our complexion too.
Aside from the standard physiological symptoms, allergies can also wreak havoc on our face, causing puffy, blood-shot eyes, redness, rosacea flare ups, and yes, even fine lines due to rubbing and itchy incessantly. While it’s always best to consult a physician if your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, there are over-the-counter treatments and beauty products that can help reduce your symptoms and even conceal them when necessary. Taking an OTC anti-histamine like Claritin or Zyrtec can not only help reduce the sneezing, itchy skin, and embarrassingly watery eyes, but it can also help reduce the puffiness and flaking skin for some. If popping an allergy pill simply isn’t doing the trick, there are a few cosmetic solutions that may not cure, but can at least conceal your inner suffering.
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1. Body Merry Eye Cream
The most common culprit for eye swelling is allergies, thanks to the release of histamine. Puffiness and swollen bags are often worsened by constantly itching irritated eyes or wiping away the faux-tears courtesy of incessantly watery eyes. Using an eye cream on the delicate undereye area will help counteract the line-inducing impact caused constantly touching the area. Naturally, it’s best to avoid touching the eye area altogether if you can, but using an eye cream infused with anti-inflammatory and de-puffing ingredients like caffeine can help reduce swollen bags by stimulating circulation and shrinking blood cells.
2. Dr. Jart Derma Green Solution Tiger Correcting Cream
Dry, irritated and downright red skin is one of the most common symptoms of springtime allergies. Once again, redness and broken capillaries are caused by inflammation, but are also exacerbated by the tendency to itch irritated skin. And, if you also happen to suffer from rosacea, seasonal allergies can actually incite a flare up. Using a green-tinted moisturizer or primer underneath your base will help counteract the redness without having to cake on multiple layers of foundation to cover it up. Dr. Jart’s Derma Tiger Correcting Cream is richly pigmented with a muted green tint (it transforms to a beige tone once applied) for maximum neutralizing power, and it’s also formulated with SPF 30 to boot.
3. Bausche + Lomb Soothe XP Eye Drops
Sure, you may be thinking that listing eye drops to reduce bloodshot eyes is a no-brainer when it comes to allergy hacks, but what you may not also know is that you can actually apply these vaso-constricting drops directly onto your skin to counteract redness instantly. This also works for inflamed, cystic acne breakouts as well. Not only does it reduce redness quickly but the cooling sensation – whether on the skin or eyes – also just feels soothing when your skin is freaking out.
4. Esarora Ice Roller
Sometimes puffiness isn’t just restricted to the eyes, allergies can cause all-over facial swelling too. If you’ve lost the patience or lack the time to invest in faking a sculpted face a la Kim K, using an ice roller to massage the eyes, temples, jawlines, and maxillary sinuses (the cheek areas around your nose prone to sinus congestion and mucus buildup) will help bring down the swelling without having to carve out the hollows of your bone structure with heavy powders and creams.
5. Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer
Lining the waterline is an age-old hack makeup artists have relied on for decades to make the eyes look bigger, brighter, and more awake. While a true or even creamy off white pencil will make your eyes pop with a 60s-era modish flair, if you’re merely looking to distract from red eyes and undereye swelling, flesh-toned liners will look more natural while still making you look more, well alive. You can also use a nude liner to subtly highlight the inner corners without using an obvious highlighter. Again, when pollen is in combat mode, waterproof eye makeup is key.
6. XClear Nasal Spray
While using a nasal spray to cleanse your nose and sinuses isn’t exactly a cosmetic solution, it does help you look a little better if you’re prone to facial swelling. For me, it’s my maxillary sinuses that tend to get inflamed, and swell up as a result. This is why using a saline spray daily to keep these passageways clear is essential. I love XClear’s solution because unlike other sprays and washes, it doesn’t burn or hurt. In fact, it actually hydrated and soothes without compromising its effectiveness.