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How Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Acne?

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Acne is one of the most prevalent skin conditions that affects at least 10% of the world’s population.

Almost everyone suffers from this breakout at one point or another, sometimes during their teen years or adulthood.

Many factors contribute to the development of acne. From keratin production to the oversecretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands and some acne-causing bacteria.

However, the link between these two has been quite controversial, with people having diverse opinions about their relationship.

Are they really connected? In this article, we’ll be uncovering the correlation between acne and allergies.

How Are Allergies Related To Acne?

There is no particular evidence that allergies cause acne. However, there is a clear connection between the two. Everyone experiences allergies, and while allergies occur, specific allergic reactions break out. Your body swells, gets inflamed, and causes itching or irritation.

This constant itching and irritation cause your skin to dry out, and when the skin becomes dry, the sebaceous gland is signaled to produce more sebum.

Although this excess sebum compensates for the absence of natural oil on the body, it causes clogged pores, making bacteria flourish in these pores, leading to the development of acne.

Related: Can Sweating Cause Acne?

Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Acne?

Seasonal allergies are in several ways the same as common allergies; the only difference is that they occur in a particular season.

Unlike common allergies that could occur anytime throughout the year. They appear only when the immune system overreacts to specific outdoor allergens at a specific season.

The most widespread of these allergens are pollen from wind-pollinated plants, like weeds, grasses, and trees.

The symptoms of seasonal allergies are the same, and it works just like other allergies. So yes, seasonal allergies can also cause acne.

Their symptoms also range from mild to severe cases, where constant inflammation and itching cause the skin to dry out. This dryness leads to more overproduction of sebum, which could cause the breakout of acne.

What Are Allergies?

Allergies are abnormal reactions of the body to otherwise harmless substances. Usually, your immune system protects your body against foreign harmful substances like bacteria and viruses.

While this occurs, it does not react towards noninfectious environmental antigens. However, in people with allergic reactions, their body system responds to harmless substances. This response is what we refer to as an allergic reaction.

Harmless substances that cause allergic reactions are often called allergens. They could result from one’s natural environment, food substances, animals and pets, medications, insect bites, latex products, and so many other factors depending on each individual’s body system.

Allergic reactions range from mild to severe cases and can occur in both children and adults. Mild symptoms of allergic reactions include running nose, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, e.t.c.

In contrast, severe allergic reactions are accompanied by life-threatening symptoms such as digestive problems, swelling, difficulty in breathing, and so on. In such situations, individuals are advised to seek medical intervention.

What Causes Allergic Reactions?

Almost anything and everything can cause allergic reactions. Most of the common causes are things we are mostly exposed to, like the foods we eat, medications, dust, pollens, shellfish, certain vaccines, e.t.c.

However, all triggers are particular to each individual. Sometimes, they change over time, and sometimes, you get allergic to certain substances because of constant exposure.

Nobody can precisely say why specific allergic reactions occur in different people. We understand these reactions occur when the body’s immune system reacts to harmless substances as if they are dangerous substances.

When allergies occur, the immune system produces antibodies that attack these allergens like foreign viruses or bacteria.

These antibodies release some chemicals like histamine into the body system that triggers allergic symptoms like inflammation, digestive problems, swelling, wheezing, and a series of other related symptoms.

Individuals with a genetic history of allergies are more likely to get allergic reactions, additional children, and people with asthma and other allergies, and more susceptible to developing more allergic reactions.

Now that you fully understand all there is to know about allergies, let us discuss what acne is.

Acne And Its Causes

Acne is a skin disease often characterized by blemishes on the face, neck, shoulders, and back. It is common during puberty when the hormones are raging and sometimes persist until adulthood.

Acne occurs in teenagers when there is an increase in hormone production when both males and females have high androgen levels. The increase in androgen level leads to an equally increased level of sebum production.

Although acne occurs in both genders, research shows that teenage boys have more severe cases of acne than teenage girls, while women have mild-to-moderate forms of acne than men, usually into their 30s and above.

So how does it occur? What exactly leads to the outbreak of this “common acne” that happens to almost everyone?

There is an oily substance in the body called “sebum,” produced by the sebaceous glands. This oily substance is needed to coat the skin and hair follicles to prevent them from drying out.

When secreted, the sebum travels through the hair follicle and the pores onto the skin’s surface. The hair follicle routinely sheds off dead skin cells, which the sebum carries out of the body.

The problem begins when the body produces extra sebum and dead skin cells. The excesses become so much that they clog the skin’s pores. Blemishes occur, and bacteria breed within these clogged pores, causing inflammation.

When such inflammation persists, red spots and swelling become visible, dark spots, lumps, and other symptoms of acne appear.

How To Get Rid Of Acne From Allergies

Although not every allergic reaction causes acne breakout, there are several cases where many allergies sufferers also have acne.

In such cases, treating your allergies can remedy your acne and improve your skin condition. Here are some helpful tips for getting rid of allergy acne:

Take proper care of your skin

Taking good care of your skin can help reduce damage and prevent acne. As the skin is a very delicate organ, you can never be too careful with how much you care for your skin. Ways you can take better care of your skin include the following.

  • Using cleansers formulated explicitly for acne, these products are often prepared with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which helps prevent sores from acne.
  • Use gentle skincare products that are not rough against your skin.
  • Clean your face gently, avoid scrubbing and itching to prevent acne sores.
  • If you wear a lot of makeup, ensure that you use oil-free makeup products and not heavy cosmetics that block skin pores.

Treat your allergies

As we have earlier established, leaving your allergies untreated causes itching and drying your skin, leading to acne outbreaks. Treating your allergies is another way to reduce the risks of exposure to acne.

Allergy medications are effective ways of treating your allergies. The most effective is the use of antihistamine. It can treat mild cases of allergies because it reduces or blocks histamines, therefore preventing symptoms of allergic reactions.

Antihistamines effectively ease different allergies, ranging from seasonal allergies to food allergies and indoor allergies. They are over-the-counter drugs that can be purchased from any drug store.

However, they should be used in the appropriate dosage. Antihistamines cannot cure all forms of allergies, and severe allergies are better treated through medical intervention.

Decongestants are another allergy medication often prescribed alongside antihistamines. They are used to relieve congestion, prevention of clogged pores. They can be used as pills, eye drops, liquids, or nasal sprays.

They can be used in any form, as long as they’re administered using the proper prescriptions.

Other Allergy Medications

Other effective allergy medications include steroids, mast cell stabilizers, leukotriene modifiers e.t.c. As much as these drugs can cure your allergies, it is essential to note that they all have their side effects, respectively.

So ensure that you take the drugs according to the prescription by a healthcare professional.

Neither acne nor allergies are pleasant, and nobody ever wants any of both. Putting the tips mentioned in this article into practice will help you better care for your allergy-related acne.

However, if symptoms persist, or you’re unsure of what is causing your allergies, book an appointment with an allergist. That should help you understand it. Also, remember to treat your skin right, using a proper skincare routine.


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Pristen Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

1. WebMD: Understanding acne basics
2. Healthline: Seasonal Allergies
3. Tiege: Can acne be caused by allergies


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