What is the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity?

13/05/2020 — By Charlotte Vohtz

What is the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity?

Allergies should not be confused with sensitivities. A true allergic reaction will result in the release of histamine and may result in serious symptoms that can affect different systems of the body.

Examples of allergies include Hay Fever which is an allergy to airborne pollen or fungal spores, Nickel allergy which can lead to persistent skin problems, and Nut allergies that can, in extreme cases, trigger anaphylactic shock.

In all these cases, the only real way to avoid symptoms is to avoid the trigger, most especially in cases where anaphylaxis may be the result of exposure.

 

What is a sensitivity?

Sensitivities on the other hand are less serious and, in the case of cosmetics and personal care products will usually be confined to localised reactions in the area where the product was applied. Reactions will often take the form of redness and irritation and should be short lived; lasting only a few hours after the irritant has been removed from the skin.

The degree of sensitivity to any particular ingredient can vary according to several different factors. For instance, sensitivity to deodorant ingredients may be greater after the armpit area has been shaved or waxed, and exposure to sunlight caused by sun-bathing can make the skin more sensitive to fragrances and perfumes. Even bathing in a hot bath can increase skin sensitivity and the likelihood of reactions.

 

Tips for coping with skin sensitivities

By avoiding ingredients that have caused reactions previously, and sticking to products that are made without the below known irritants, you will reduce the chances of experiencing sensitivities to your personal care products.

Try to avoid:

  • sodium lauryl sulfate

  • alcohol (ethanol/ethyl alcohol)

  • PABA sunscreens

  • synthetic colourants

  • synthetic fragrances

 

Caring for very sensitive skin

Discover Green People's broad range of natural and organic skin care products designed especially for very sensitive skin. Made without essential oils or fragrance, they contain soothing natural plant extracts to calm reactive skin.


 

Scent-free and sensitive skin care

 

Organic Children Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 150ml
4.9 star rating 724 Reviews

Organic Children Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 150ml

High factor scent free SPF30 suitable for children with sensitive skin

£20.00

Buy Now
Sun Care Sample Pack
4.8 star rating 148 Reviews

Sun Care Sample Pack

Try samples of our award-winning effective organic sun care products

£1.50

Buy Now
Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 30ml
4.8 star rating 1496 Reviews

Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 30ml

High factor fragrance-free SPF30 sun lotion in 'Try me' size

£7.00

Buy Now
Everyday Hand Care Set
5.0 star rating 7 Reviews

Everyday Hand Care Set

Scent-free, ultra-gentle hand wash and cream for regular use

£20.00

Buy Now
Scent Free Anti-Ageing Eye Cream 10ml
4.7 star rating 270 Reviews

Scent Free Anti-Ageing Eye Cream 10ml

An ultra-gentle anti-ageing eye cream, soothing for very sensitive eyes

£15.00

Buy Now
Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 200ml
4.8 star rating 1498 Reviews

Scent Free Sun Cream - SPF30 200ml

High factor fragrance-free SPF30 sun lotion suitable for sensitive skin

£24.00

Buy Now
Scent Free Cleanser & Make-up Remover 150ml
4.9 star rating 391 Reviews

Scent Free Cleanser & Make-up Remover 150ml

Ultra-gentle cleanser & make-up remover

£20.00

Buy Now
Scent Free Hydrating Calming Serum 50ml
4.7 star rating 209 Reviews

Scent Free Hydrating Calming Serum 50ml

A scent-free soothing, hydrating and regenerating serum for ultra-sensitive skin

£21.00

Buy Now
Share
Share
Categories
Read Next

Save 10%

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive your 10% discount code and receive all our offers straight to your inbox