WHAT IS CAUSING YOUR BEAUTY ALLERGIES?
Have you ever applied a new skin cream or used a new shampoo, only to end up with swollen eyes or irritated skin? While your beauty regimen can help you feel on top of your game, it can also be the cause of an allergic reaction. Determining the trigger is a tricky task, and you’ll need to go on a serious detective hunt to find the responsible ingredient or product. There are a lot of suspects – was it your shampoo, your body lotion, your face wash or your foundation?!
More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies every year, making allergies the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. Although there are no statistics for how many of them are caused specifically by cosmetics, skin allergies from beauty care ingredients are shockingly common. So what is causing your cosmetic allergies and what can you do to avoid them?
WHAT CAUSES BEAUTY ALLERGIES?
An allergy is the response of your body’s immune system when reacting to a foreign substance, a so-called allergen. This could be something you eat, inhale, consume, or, in the case of cosmetics, an ingredient in a beauty product you apply on your skin. One of the most common problems associated with cosmetics and skin care products is contact dermatitis, which can lead to itching, rashes, and inflamed, dry and reddened skin. While the symptoms of contact dermatitis typically show up immediately, you can also have an allergic reaction years after using your favorite beauty product without any problems! Why? The more you use a certain product, the more your immune system is affected by the chemicals contained in it. Translation: you can use your favorite product 1000 times and on the 1,001st time, you cross over from becoming gradually sensitized to having a full-blown allergic reaction. Especially people with a history of eczema, asthma or seasonal allergies are likely to react to chemical ingredients.
THE NO-GO INGREDIENTS
Given the range of chemicals used in cosmetics today, the pool of allergens is infinitely huge. However, fragrances, preservatives and paraphenylenediamine (PPD) are among the top 3 allergens causing allergic reactions to cosmetics.
FRAGRANCES. More than 5,000 fragrances are used in cosmetics and beauty products today. They are present in shampoos, facial cosmetics, perfumes and moisturizers and are the most common cause of contact dermatitis caused by cosmetics. To be sure that your cosmetics are free of fragrances, look for products labeled “fragrance-free” or “phthalate-free” like ViTA’s hair care duo, and be aware that products labeled “unscented” may still contain a fragrance to mask another chemical odor.
PRESERVATIVES. Parabens, formaldehyde, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, isothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone are some of the most commonly found preservatives in beauty products, used to prevent bacterial or fungal growth. Known endocrine disruptors, parabens are thought to be especially dangerous. Fortunately, there are many paraben-free products available on the market, so make sure that yours are labeled “free of parabens”.
PARAPHENYLENE DIAMINE HAIR DYE (PPD). Widely used in hair dyes, because it gives a natural look, PPD is the third most common ingredient in cosmetics to cause contact dermatitis. Reactions may involve dermatitis to the upper eyelids or rims of the ears, as well as severe swelling of the scalp and face.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID BEAUTY ALLERGIES?
Although there is no cure for an allergy and it can be extremely hard to pinpoint at first, allergies can be managed as soon as you’ve identified the ingredient causing you trouble. Avoiding the ingredients that are the most common allergens is the first step in avoiding any breakouts. However, if it’s too late for that, these are some steps you can take to keep allergic reactions in check:
READ THE LABEL. The best way to prevent cosmetic allergy is to completely avoid all products that contain the allergen you are sensitive to. As soon as you know which these are, thoroughly check the label to make sure that your product is free of these allergens. Generally, you should always go for products that are free of synthetic fragrances, parabens and formaldehyde. Choose products that don’t have a long list of ingredients to minimize the potential number of allergens.
DO A MINI PATCH TEST. If you think that you’re allergic to a certain product, place a small sample of it on your inner wrist or elbow and wait for at least 24 hours to see if a reaction occurs. Do this every day for a week and whenever trying out a new product. If you’re already experiencing facial swelling, you can also ask your dermatologist to do a patch test, where little dots of ingredients are applied to your back to see which chemicals produce a reaction.
APPLY PERFUME TO YOUR CLOTHES. By applying perfume to your clothes and letting it dry before putting them on, you can reduce exposure to allergens.
To prevent allergic reactions from leaving permanent marks on your skin and body, it is important to take cosmetic allergies seriously, and take necessary precautions when shopping for any beauty care product. Become a master at reading cosmetic ingredient labels, and avoid products containing toxic, unsafe ingredients. The brands you choose should be transparent and make it easy for you to understand exactly what is in their products - like ViTA. Free of parabens, synthetic fragrances
, and ALL of EWG’s ingredients of concern
, ViTA’s products are a safe bet if you are looking to avoid
potential irritants and eliminate your toxic load – all while seeing proven amazing results!