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)
Caring for very sensitive skin
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