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Doctors Give The 411 On Skin Allergies And Why You Might Be Vulnerable To It

If your skin feels irritable lately, you might be having some sort of allergic reaction. Still unsure of what that means? We asked the experts for help.

According to Dr Melvin Tan of Epion Clinic, skin allergies occur when an irritant like dust or allergen causes a reaction that results in itchy, angry and red complexions. And since we are exposed to such irritants even when we’re home, it is a possibility that many of us are susceptible to it. When this happens, the barrier weakens and becomes less resilient to damage, causing flare-ups and redness.

Read More: 7 Gentle Exfoliating Peels That Won’t Irritate Sensitive Skin

Adding on, IDS Clinic’s Dr YX Lum points out that since our complexions tend to get drier as our skin barrier weakens as we age, it is likely to be more prone to such concerns. Thus, it is crucial to maintain our skin’s integrity and barrier for it to better defend itself. To treat such allergies at home, Dr Tan suggests that it is best to find the root and cause of the problem – this could range from the use of new soaps to foods. He also recommends getting antihistamines over the counter, which are great for symptoms like swelling, redness and itch.

Read More: 5 Classic Skincare Ingredients Your Skin Will Thank You For

“It is ideal to consult a doctor as since the skin is already reactive, it is advisable to seek professional opinion instead of self-treatments, which may make it worse,” Dr Lum notes. However, for quick home-remedy treatments, he encourages the use of products with ceramides and those that protect against blue light and sun rays. Additionally, Dr Tan recommends steering away from harsher products that are formulated with acids or retinol and instead, opt for gentler ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.

Above, our picks of 10 over-the-counter products from skincare brands you can opt for.

IDS Skincare Recovery Serum, $85.60,
Ideal for sensitive complexions that are dry and easily irritable, this contains helianthus annuus seed oil, which reinforces the barrier function by stimulating ceramide synthesis within the epidermis. It also helps to reduce redness, soothes irritation, and strengthens and stabilises immunity for more resilient skin. Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream, $73,
Total ceramide and pyracantha fortuneana fruit extracts relieve dryness and soothe itching that has developed due to chronic dryness, allergies and atopic skin conditions. This also contains the brand’s Five-Cera Complex, which builds and repairs damaged skin barrier while retaining moisture. Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $156,
This combines vitamin B5 with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture into the skin and replenish lost moisture. It also has a fluid texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, making it ideal for those with oily and combination skin types. Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial, $74,
This is a lightweight, cooling overnight sleeping mask that hydrates, restores and repairs skin’s barrier. Vitamin F, its key ingredient, is essentially an omega-six essential fatty acid, which makes it a superior ingredient in repairing the skin barrier while discouraging moisture loss. It is also enriched with niacinamide, plant squalane and five forms of ceramides, omega fatty acids and powerful antioxidants that work together to soothe, hydrate and improve signs of damage such as roughness and dullness. Skin Inc Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $68,
On days when your skin is flaring up and feels itchy, a good and simple hydrating serum is what you’ll need to calm things down. This does exactly that while delivering intense moisture deep within the dermis thanks to hydrolysed hyaluronic acid that is said to penetrate deeper into the skin. A Japanese Seaweed Encapsulation Technology then protects the active ingredients from exposure to light and oxidation, ensuring stability and potency of ingredients. Sisley Youth Anti-Pollution Blue Light Shield, $245,
The powerful cocktail of antioxidant-rich, anti-free radical and protective active ingredients such as buckwheat seed, ginkgo biloba and vitamin E acetate is responsible for protecting the skin against the harmful effects of all types of pollution and strengthens its resistance. Ginseng extract, which is best known for its energising properties, works together with mineral-rich kiwi extract rich to boost skin’s vitality and energy for a renewed and fresher complexion. Buckwheat seed extract and shea butter promote moisture retention in the epidermis. Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream, $95,
This is a lightweight moisturiser that works to hydrate, prevent moisture loss and strengthen skin barrier. Beetroot and coconut extract deliver moisture to the skin while ceramides, vitamin F and pomegranate sterols strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier that has been damaged by environmental aggressors and other irritants. First Aid Beauty First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair BarriAir Cream, $36,
This hydrates the skin using a two-prong approach: triple-weight hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that draws external moisture into skin while an Adaptive Hydration Technology stimulates and improves the skin’s ability to replenish its own internal moisture levels. It is also suitable for those with skin allergies as colloidal oatmeal and antioxidant-rich vitamin E help calm and soothe. Chantecaille Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum, $250
This fights against blue light by strengthening the skin’s barrier and changing the skin’s adaptation to blue light. Red sage root extract moisturises and soothes skin that has been exposed to irritants and other pollution. It is also said to visibly improve the appearance of redness and stressed skin. A blend of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights increases skin moisture levels. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask With Avocado & Swiss Glacier Water, $44,
This contains glacier water, hyaluronic acid and avocado butter to replenish skin’s hydration levels for up to a reported 72 hours. It does not have a pungent scent and has a texture that is comparable to that of butter – yeap, the one you spread on bread.