With the first day of spring a week away, most of us are ready to stop and smell the flowers. Others, however, are preparing to start taking antihistamines. If you fall into this last group and your body starts to go crazy once the flowers start to bloom, I have some news to tell you: your trusted allergy medicine could be affecting your skin. If you have noticed that your dry skin is as dry as it would be at winter's peak or if your oily skin is less slippery, your antihistamine could be the culprit. A Redditor that goes by Fragrancefree101 recently published a PSA on the Skincare addiction subreddit noting that antihistamines can affect sebum production. "Recently, [ly] I started taking antihistamines daily to help with allergies (10 mg of Zyrtec with generic prescription), and I noticed that I was drying everywhere," he explained. "I was already a big drinker of water, but now, I feel that it is better to use a Camelbak everywhere, and I have discovered that I need to apply lotion on my whole body, not just my hands, my hair and my skin generically hyper-acidic. They have also dried up a bit, so my makeup does not fall off my face at 11 am. "The science behind this. As someone who has taken some type of allergy medication every day, I was intrigued reading about the Fragrancefree101 experience. Because, as she pointed out in Reddit, she is not a doctor, I decided to use some experts to get more information about this epiphany of skin care. It turns out that the Fragrancefree101 PSA has some merit. Let's start with what antihistamines do: "They are used to counteract the effects of histamine, a common chemical messenger in our body, by competing with it for binding sites in the body," explains William Reisacher, director of allergy services at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian. "While histamine performs many important functions, it can also cause allergic symptoms such as sneezing, itching and a runny nose." However, histamines not only cause the nose, throat and eyes to be alarmed throughout the spring. They can also affect your skin. "There are histamine receptors in skin cells that stimulate them to release sebum or oil on the skin," says Reisacher. More specifically, sebocytes, which are the cells that produce sebum or skin oils, have a histamine H-1 receptor on their surface, says Lily Talakoub, a dermatologist at the McLean Center for Dermatology and Skin Care in Virginia. So, when you take antihistamines, this receptor is blocked. As a result, the production of sebum is reduced and the skin can become less oily than normal. Should I try? Antihistamines are not necessarily what dermatologists would prescribe to their oily skin patients to fight the outbreaks. "Usually, I do not recommend taking an antihistamine for oily skin because the effects are minimal," Talakoub says. "Sebocytes are stimulated to a greater extent by hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, which are found in birth control pills, and cortisol (the stress hormone in the body)." Reisacher would not prescribe them solely to help treat oily skin. Reason to be? The long-term use of antihistamines can be problematic. "Due to its effects on the production of oil for the skin, long-term use can cause dry and itchy skin," he says. "They can also cause dryness in the region of the nose and throat, causing a runny nose and postnasal drip." Reisacher adds that the heart also has histamine receptors, so the long-term use of antihistamines can lead to an arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat. An exception? If the patient has allergies and oily skin, according to Kenneth Mark, a dermatologist in New York City. He says he could recommend antihistamines in this case. "This could be a way to achieve two goals with a drug," he adds. Other sebum solutions If you really want to reduce sebum production, Ava Shamban, dermatologist at Beverly Hills dermatologist and founder of SkinxFive, says that topical retinoids are the way to go. (You can find here our recommendations for the over-the-counter ones). Talakoub also suggests adding more products with salicylic acid to your skin care routine. "Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that travels through the pores of the skin to the sebaceous glands and dries them," he explains. He recommends it on benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid, which can inadvertently increase oil production "because the skin thinks it is too dry," he says. For everything related to allergies, you can consult our practical guide to handle the allergy season here. More tips for oily skin: now, learn all about the basic principles of rolling jade: follow Devon Abelman on Twitter and Instagram.