Runny nose. Nasal congestion. Headache. Pain inside your face. Tooth pain or swollen gums.
Spring is here and for many, so are seasonal allergies.
During Spring season, you may experience skin symptoms that you don’t understand. Many of these symptoms are related to sinus congestion from allergies.
- clusters of acne on the nose or next to the nose, between brows or just in front of the ears
- dark circles under or around eyes
- puffy eye lids
- mis-shapen cheeks, uneven facial contours
How are sinuses involved in skin problems?
Most people innately recognize sinus location as around their nose. But looking at anatomical diagrams gives you greater insight as to why sinus congestion from allergies are causing skin issues.
Sinus cavities that are located next to your nose are called maxillary sinuses. This means they sit near the nose and extend deeply into the cheeks. Sinuses though are also above your brows (frontal sinuses), between the eyes and nose (ethmoid sinuses) and in front of your ears (sphenoid sinuses). Sinus cavities are not just superficial spaces; they extend into the skull as well. They are behind your nose, sit deep into the inner corners of your eyes, extend over a good part of your forehead and are deep in your cheeks and over your teeth and gums.
See the picture to get a sense of where the sinus cavities are, and touch those areas so you can experience how much territory they cover just on the surface of your face.
If you trace your fingers over the fluid movement patterns - from eyes and nose out to ears, then down to the neck - fluid flows out and down. You can see from the diagram that blocking any of these causes a bit of a back up of fluid flow. In general, blocking any of these sinuses results in a block in front of the sinus or below it, and the skin problem is located before the blockage. The result is a cluster of breakouts, dark circles or puffiness in the eye area, in addition to headache and other pain in the face and head.
Does your sinus pain/allergy strategy look like this?
Most people’s strategy is to dry out the sinuses to stop leaking noses or pain. The problem with this strategy is that it also dries your skin, a condition called surface dehydration. See how skin lies over the most superficial part of the sinuses. You are not just drying mucus fluids - you’re drying all fluids, resulting in surface skin dehydration. A best, the drying strategy provides temporary relief. And unfortunately, too many of you use allergy medicines every day for months, causing more chronic dehydration.
What to do
There are strategies that may help manage allergies without drying medicines. Neti pot usage; warm or cold compresses; homeopathy; nutritional supplements. It’s not as easy as taking one pill and having pain disappear, but you’ll need to decide whether the side effects of these medicines is something you can accept.
Massage for face, head, scalp, neck and shoulders is also helpful. Three modalities that I often combine include;
- Buccal massage to relieve congestion and headaches by increasing craniosacral movement, loosen tight muscles, move stagnant lymph and create a feeling of lightness in your head
- Manual lymphatic drainage - this is always included in buccal massage because of the deep movement of fluids that must be drained.
- Acupressure, which is pressure on specific points to target areas of pain gently.
- Jade Gua Sha - uses a carved jade stone (cooled or heated) to unblock congestion and ease pain.
Book an appointment for Buccal Massage or Jade Gua Sha here so we can get you feeling and looking better!