If you have sensitive skin, new skin care products can be scary. Reactions aren’t fun, and usually involve rashes, redness, itching, irritation, inflammation, breakouts, swelling, and in the most severe cases, open sores and blisters.
I know all about these reactions, as I watched a supposed “sensitive cream” make my father’s fragile skin much worse when he was going through treatments for cancer. That’s an experience I’ll never forget, and I’m much more careful now when using any new product to try.
A few months ago, I posted about how Cosmetics Europe-the European cosmetics trade association-told its members to remove MI from products that are left on the skin in December 2013. But skin care products still contain many ingredients that can cause allergic reactions, including fragrances, preservatives, colors and dyes, detergents, alcohols, and more.
That doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid trying new products, however. Instead, take the following precautions to protect yourself while testing the product to see if it might work for you.
- Read labels. If you shop with my Ingredients to Avoid list, you’ll be less likely to run across harsh ingredients that cause allergic reactions. This should always be your first step-see what’s in the product before you put it on your skin. If there are a lot of things you can’t pronounce, your risk is greater than if you see more natural ingredients.
- Get tested. An allergy doctor can test you to find out which chemicals you may be allergic to. This can be greatly helpful when it comes to avoiding products that are likely to cause you grief. Armed with your list, you can go shopping for products that have none of your particular triggers.
- Go for less. The fewer ingredients in a product, the less likely it is to cause you issues. This can be particularly helpful for simple products like toners and cleansers. If there are more ingredients, look for those from natural plant sources. If your allergy test shows that you’re allergic to some plants, watch out for those that may be included in skin care.
- Tread carefully with marketing hype. A lot of marketers use words like “hypoallergenic,” “dermatologist tested,” “sensitivity tested,” and “non-irritating.” These may be helpful, but you still need to read labels, as these claims do not guarantee that your skin won’t react.
- Research the brand. Do a little background checking on the product you’re thinking about buying. Check it on the Skin Deep Database for potentially hazardous ingredients, and check the website to find out more. Some companies are committed to using ingredients that are not linked with allergic reactions-these are the ones that you want to look for.
- Shop where the products are screened. A number of online shops pre-screen their products, and won’t feature any that are made with typical allergens like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and the like. Check out my post for Where Do I Find Safer Products? for some ideas.
- Do a patch test. This is an absolute must if you have sensitive skin. Always apply just a little of the product on the inside of your elbow, then wait for 48-72 hours. If you see any redness, swelling, itching, burning, etc., don’t use the product.
- Choose fragrance-free. Sensitive skin does not stand up well to the hundreds of chemicals that are often used in fragrance formulas. Choose fragrance-free or products that have scents from natural sources, like essential oils.
- Go slow. In other words, don’t try out five new products at once. Test one, and if you see no reaction, give it about a week more. If you’re still sailing smoothly, you can try the next product.
- Use a select few. Is your cosmetic cabinet overflowing? Do you tend to pile on products one after the other? You may think that more is better, but this approach can actually backfire, causing your skin to become overly reactive. Find a good cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and treatment product, and stop there. (You can alternate your morning and evening routine if you want to use two treatment products a day.)
- Keep your skin healthy. This may be the most important tip of all. If your skin is dry, cracked, flaking, or otherwise compromised, it’s more likely to react, because it allows ingredients to penetrate more thoroughly. Keep your skin smooth and healthy by using nurturing products that help repair and rebuild over time.
For those with sensitive skin, let me share one more thing-I made my skin care products specifically for you. A special expert panel screened each item in the CV Skinlabs line to ensure none of the ingredients had links to allergic reactions or health issues of any kind. Further, we use biocompatible ingredients that are easily recognized by the skin, so any risk of sensitivity is lessened-because the body readily takes up and uses the formulas.
We created our formulas to be safe those with the most fragile skin-cancer patients, those with eczema and dermatitis, and those with illnesses that create skin conditions that are typically difficult to treat. Our products are made to be completely safe for this population, and are now being used in hospitals and cancer treatment centers around the country.
Meanwhile, celebrities like Michelle Williams and Nitika Chopra are raving about how these gentle products create a healthy, radiant glow on their skin. I invite you to give the products a try. We have a handy new try-me kit that gives you the perfect introduction to safe, effective skin care completely free of potentially harmful ingredients.
It’s time to leave reactions behind, and enjoy comfortable, radiant skin.
Do you have sensitive skin? What are your daily challenges? Please share your story.
Picture courtesy marin via freedigitalphotos.net.