When you think of seasonal allergies, telltale symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes probably come to mind. But did you know your skin can be vulnerable to seasonal allergens, too? Seasonal skin care is important to protect your skin year-round, and that may mean giving your skin a little TLC to cope with seasonal skin allergies. Here's what you should know.

Seasonal Skin Triggers

Take autumn. Fall brings crisp, cooler air and beautiful foliage, but both of those things can invite allergens and irritants that affect your skin. Ragweed pollen, a common cause of itchy skin that affects almost 50 million people in the United States, can be plentiful in the early days of fall. And as leaves fall, mold spores can accumulate in piles of foliage and further aggravate skin allergies, especially if you stir them up doing yard work. In spring, tree and grass pollen are common offenders.

Combined with shifting weather patterns and improper skin care—which can both damage the protective skin barrier— seasonal allergens can take a toll on your skin. But that doesn't mean you have to abstain from all the outdoor fun the seasons bring. With a little prep and proper skin care—as well as understanding your skin's unique needs—you can help your skin stay calm and healthy year-round.

Young woman student studying using her books, laptop and notebook, sitting on grass. Back to school.

Understanding Your Skin's Reaction to Allergens

Allergies are your immune system's response to a substance it thinks is dangerous. The symptoms you get as a result (wheezing, sneezing, rashes, itchy skin) are your body's way of responding to a perceived threat.

Threats may include food, bee stings, pet dander, pollen, or other allergens, like mold and harsh fragrances. Some allergens are present year-round, while others are more significant during certain times of the year.

Risk Factors for Seasonal Skin Allergies

Allergens surround all of us every day, but not everyone falls victim to them. Similarly, different people may experience different symptoms. For example, your pollen allergy may cause skin damage, while your friend's allergy may cause a runny nose or fatigue. Skin health plays a role, too. An impaired skin barrier may make you more vulnerable to hives, itchy skin, or rashes.

There's also a biological aspect. Some people's immune systems are more sensitive to allergens like pollen and pet dander, and many people inherit allergies from their parents. For example, hay fever—an allergic reaction to pollen, pet dander, and other tiny particles you breathe in—is often hereditary. People with eczema and asthma are more likely to have hay fever.

Seasonal allergies are often linked to where you live. If you've never experienced skin allergies, you may develop an allergic response after moving to a new region.

How to Know If You Have Seasonal Allergies

If you tend to get rashes, itchy skin, or hives at certain times of the year, it's a good clue you might be dealing with seasonal skin allergies. Check with an allergist or Dermatologist. They can conduct a series of screenings, such as skin patch tests, to identify which specific allergens are giving you trouble.

How to Treat Dry Skin and Seasonal Allergies

Treatment plans for skin allergies can vary widely from person to person. Your treatment will depend on the allergen and your allergist or Derm's assessment. However, here are some common options.

Oral Medications

You're probably already familiar with antihistamines. These medications, like Benadryl and Zyrtec, work by blocking histamines, the chemicals your immune system releases in response to an allergen. Antihistamines are the first line of therapy for hives.

Topical Therapies

Topical treatment options can range from applying prescriptions like topical steroids, which reduce inflammation, to adjusting your skin care routine to soothe and fortify your skin barrier.

Healthy skin relies on a three-part routine involving a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. But if you have skin allergies, you'll need extra support, especially in the cooler months. Try a formula like EltaMD Skin Restore Body Cream. This rich, nongreasy cream is formulated with ceramides to repair the skin barrier, Hyaluronic Acid to pull water into the top layer of skin, and Niacinamide to reduce redness and visible signs of skin damage.

Finally, if your skin is especially dry or cracked, consider providing added support with amino acids, which promote skin repair and wound healing. EltaMD Skin Recovery Night Mask contains a patented combination of three amino acids. This AAComplex is shown to help accelerate the skin repair process, decrease redness, minimize irritation, and increase hydration.

Embrace the Changing Seasons

Above all, know that you don't have to live with the discomfort of dry skin and seasonal skin allergies. Get to know your body's reactions as the seasons change, and adjust your daily habits and skin care routine to give your skin what it needs to thrive. That way, you can get outside and enjoy each season for all it's worth.


  • Jessica DiJulio, MA, MMS, PA-C

    Jessica DiJulio is a board-certified physician assistant. She graduated from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University as a member of its inaugural class. She enjoys all aspects of dermatology including working with inflammatory skin conditions like atopic dermatitis in children, adults and using her master's degree in English to contribute as a freelance medical writer.

    View all posts