You wake up to red patches on your face, neck, or arms that are itchy or sore. You're not quite sure what happened last night, whether it was something you ate or drank to have triggered these spots, acne, or allergic reactions. Then you look at the skincare product you've been using and notice an unusual ingredient or, perhaps, a familiar compound that's known to cause irritation. Does this sound familiar? The chances are you're one of the 27.9% of men or 36.7% of women medically declared to having sensitive or extremely sensitive skin.
Well, on the bright side, you're not alone in experiencing this type of storyline. Many consumers would choose and use over-the-counter skin care treatments in the hopes of fixing a skin concern. Whether it's a red acne bump, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, there are all forms of day and night creams, astringents, corrector pens, or cosmetic devices aimed to solve that issue. All of which, can be found online or in a local beauty store.
But with these issues and with these myriads of products are allergic responses. Allergic responses are your immune system's overreactions to substances that can ordinarily be harmless. An allergen can be very personal and would trigger your immune system to generate chemical molecules such as antibodies, resulting in allergy symptoms, which can range from mild to life-threatening.
The Need For Testing Allergens
While it might not apply to you but it's quite common for people to not know whether they're allergic to something, or that there are tests to figure out what they're allergic to. Oftentimes, people would only come to find out when they develop an allergic reaction or a skin problem, after-which they would then test for their allergens. But the truth of it is, healthcare providers can order the tests to determine your allergen vulnerability and the ingredients you are allergic to even without their having been a reaction. This is part of preventative care, so that you will know what you can or cannot eat, allowing you to be able to avoid having a potential life-threatening response. Moreover, the testing technology has also had great advancements, becoming much simpler nowadays.
One such test is the patch test. Patch testing is a means of diagnosing allergic contact dermatitis, which appears as skin irritation or swelling, and typically test your immunity against everything you might come into contact with at home, work, or on vacation. This test comprises of applying patches or discs to your back that contain small chambers or discs with small amounts of the test substances, where the patches would be held in place by hypoallergenic tapes. Other available tests include the prick tests, intradermal tests, and allergy blood tests.
Definition of Toxic Vs. Nontoxic
As you get a better understanding of the positive and negative impacts that skincare chemicals can have on your skin, you will be faced with a plethora of options. With the array of skincare brands and buzzwords from the media and huge corporations, you might tend to focus on a brand name over the actual ingredients and benefits. At times, you might neglect the label, because you either already know the brand or have seen its other products, so you just directly skip to assuming it would do miracles for your skin... However, it isn't a given whether it might have some new irritating ingredients that your skin wouldn't appreciate just because of past precedence. There is still the chance that the new formula might contain a toxic substance that will cause you an bad reaction.
But what exactly would qualify as a toxic substance? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a substance is considered toxic if it can cause injury or sickness to a human when consumed, breathed, or absorbed through the skin. Oftentimes, toxic substances are inorganic, i.e. unnatural and not typically found in nature.
Therefore, any product made with absence of any toxic substance can be considered non-toxic. These are products that have been created without the use of any potentially harmful or poisonous ingredients that could be detrimental to your health or the environment. While it may imply that a product is safe for the environment and free of dangerous chemicals, it does not mean the product must be sustainable and as for whether it is safe for use, the FDA has the final say.
5 Ingredients You Are Using That You Need To Avoid
So, the next question would be, are there ingredients that are used in cosmetics products that you should avoid? Here are the common substances you should avoid and eliminate for safety reasons:
- Formaldehyde - Formaldehyde is a potential human carcinogen, according to the EPA. Based on evidence from human studies and laboratory research, National Cancer Institute experts have established that formaldehyde exposure can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. In humans, high levels of exposure may even induce certain types of cancer.
- Parabens and phthalates - Parabens have long been a popular preservative in personal care products, allowing lotions, shampoos, and cleansers to last longer on the rack. They can, however, irritate the skin and disrupt hormone production.
- Polyethylene glycol and PEG compounds - PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based chemicals used as solvents, thickeners, softeners, and moisture carriers in cosmetics. The bases of cosmetic cream typically contain PEGs. In addition, they are employed as laxatives in medications.
- Sulfates - While there is no evidence that SLS and SLES are linked to cancer, infertility, or developmental problems, long-term usage of these drugs may cause small levels of these chemicals to accumulate in your body, resulting in irritation of the eyes, skin, mouth. Affects to the lungs is the most serious side effect of using products containing SLS and SLES. Sulfates can also clog pores and cause acne in persons with sensitive skin.
- Fragrance - Fragrance is a mixture of aromatic extracts derived from both natural and synthetic sources. It is found in over half of all beauty products and contains a plethora of unknown hazardous ingredients that might be damaging to your health. Fragrance can irritate the skin, induce hormone imbalances, and even cause cancer if you don't realize it.
When deciding which product to use, the expression "little is more" rings true. Less, in this case, means focusing on only the organic and non-toxic necessities that your skin needs, minimizing the substances used rather than going for quantity, assuming that the quantity would be able to cover all your bases. You must keep in mind that ingredients can also react differently when paired with different things. So getting the correct nourishment for your skin is what the right product is all about. It's all about reaping the benefits for your skin and wellness without jeopardizing your overall health.
We recommend looking for a label that is made of natural, non-toxic ingredients with a patented, well-tested formula, such as airDefender. AirDefender is dermatologically proven to be safe even for the most sensitive of skin types. It is formulated to be gentle on your skin, so you won't have to worry about irritation, allergies, or acne. Furthermore, unlike the typical, common hand sanitizers, it works differently, allowing you to enjoy more than 10-hour of germ block protection. It is a natural sanitizer that can be used for the whole body with an active deodorizing effect that will not tolerate any odors that may be attach to or coming from your body, so you can rest assured you'll fresh even hours afterward.