Beauty Clinic: What can I do about 'hay fever eyes'?


Q. I’m prone to hay fever at this time of year, which seems to affect my eyes worst. They tend to get puffy, watery and pink – and feel sore. Dodgy all round, in other words. Do you have any suggestions to calm them please?

A. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen from plants which is usually worst from late March to September, especially in warm, humid or windy weather. NHS UK lists itchy, red or watery eyes as one of the main symptoms affecting the one in five plus people who suffer at some point.

First of all, do wear large, wrap around sunglasses with wide side bars to help stop the pollen getting in your eyes. They also help prevent other airborne pollutants exacerbating the problem. So channel your inner Jackie O and wear them every time you go out.

Effective eye drops are vital and pharmacist Shabir Daya suggests natural Allergy Relief Eye Drops by Similasan, which are formulated to help sooth itching, burning, redness and watering. £15.95 for 10ml from

If you find you need something stronger, Moorfields Eye Hospital in London recommends asking a pharmacist for advice about using eye drops containing antihistamines.

A cool compress – or an ice cube wrapped in a cotton hanky – can really help sooth sore eyes. Patting Trilogy Very Gentle Calming Serum/£29.50 for 30 ml, around the eye area and on the lids really does seem to help. The range also offers a moisturiser and cleanser.

Make up removers designed for sensitivity include La Roche-Posay Respectissime Eye Makeup Remover/ £11 for 125ml. Allergy UK recommends the same brand’s Toleriane Ultra facial skincare range. Green People offer organic Gentle Cleanse & Make-Up Remover, which promises to remove all eye make up including waterproof mascara and contains anti-inflammatory actives/£20 for 150ml.

As your eyes are likely to be watery, we suggest avoiding eye make up as much as possible. If you do choose to wear mascara, make it a waterproof version (see our Beauty Bible Award winners here).

Before you put your hands anywhere near your face, make sure to wash them thoroughly to make sure all traces of pollen are removed.

If your eyes are baggy, dot and press concealer into the crease line to help disguise it. ELF Camo Concealer comes in masses of shades at a beauty steal price of just £5 from Superdrug; apply a tiny amount on top of a light moisturiser, patting it in very gently.

Distract attention from your poor sore peepers with a bright lipstick colour and eye-catching earrings.

Finally, after being outdoors, Moorfields Eye Hospital advises showering, washing your hair and changing your clothes to remove residual pollen. Also, during peak pollen season, dry washed clothes indoors. Stay indoors whenever possible with windows and doors closed. Vacuum regularly (choose one with a special HEPA filter) and dust with a damp cloth. You can also buy pollen filters for the air vents in your car.