This guide provides information about skin allergies. We understand what a skin allergy is and what the most common causes of allergic skin reactions are.
This guide also looks at sensitive skin and which chemical ingredients in many personal care products are known irritants and allergens.
Natural skin care for skin allergy sufferers
Many beauty products and cosmetics are described as being hypoallergenic, meaning you are less likely to suffer an allergic reaction to the product. Unfortunately, the terms 'hypoallergenic skin care' or 'hypoallergenic hair care' can be a little misleading, as people can be allergic to the gentlest of plant ingredients.
There are no standards or tests in place to prove that a product won’t cause a reaction, so in practice it is not actually possible to create 100% hypoallergenic or allergy-free skin care products.
However, the gentle formulation of organic skin care products means that they are less likely to aggravate skin allergies and conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and sensitive skin.
If you suffer from ultra sensitive skin it is best to test new skin care products on your inner forearm to see if you have a reaction.
How to do a patch test
Apply a small amount of the product to the inner forearm about 2cm square. Leave on for 12 hours.
If no redness or swelling appears after 12 hours, apply a similar amount to the same area of skin and leave for a further 12 hours.
If after this time no reaction is observed then apply a third dose of product to the same skin area.
If no reaction occurs in the next 24 hours, then it is highly probable that the product is safe for you to use.
This test checks not only for already existing allergies, but also confirms that repeated use is not a problem - a condition called Repeated Exposure Induced Sensitivity.
Why are Green People products so good for allergy-prone skin?
Using a moisturising complex of Jojoba esters, essential fatty acids and plant Squalane as well as soothing ingredients such as organic Chamomile, Marshmallow, Calendula and Aloe Vera mean that Green People's natural, organic skin care products are suitable for irritated skin and people suffering from conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and those with skin allergies and sensitive skin conditions such as prickly heat.
Our entire natural beauty range is made without lanolin, SLS/SLES, parabens, alcohol (ethyl alcohol/ethanol), phthalates, petrochemicals, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances and colourings and any other irritating synthetic chemicals and our avoidance of these known irritants means that our products are suitable for many people who have skin sensitivities and allergies.
We also have a Sensitive range that is free from essential oils, making it ideal for those with sensitivity to essential oils or who suffer with multiple allergies.
Rich in natural actives and entirely scent-free, it helps to restore your skin's natural barrier properties and bring your skin into balance.
Maintenance of the skin’s barrier property is very important, especially where the skin has become sensitised or is prone to allergic reactions.
Types of skin allergy
Allergic contact dermatitis is an itchy, red or swollen skin rash occurring after being in direct contact with an allergy-causing substance (an allergen).
The most common causes of skin allergies are preservatives, fragrances and jewellery metals such as Nickel and Cobalt chloride – a metal found in hair dye, antiperspirant and objects plated in metal.
It is important to identify the cause of any contact allergy and then to avoid that material meticulously as repeated exposure may lead to more severe reactions.
Atopic dermatitis or eczema affects one in five babies and children. It is thought to be linked to low levels of Squalene.
In healthy skin, sebum contains between 10-13% Squalene and low levels of Squalene lead to dryness, flaking and causes weakness in the skins barrier function, the skin easily becomes prone to irritation and inflammation.
Eczema is often linked with asthma, hay fever or food allergy and food sensitivities can make eczema symptoms worse.
When you have allergic skin reaction to something in your environment, you may display one or more symptoms. The symptoms may take the form of eczema, swelling, skin inflammation, rashes, itchy skin and watery eyes.
What can cause an allergic reaction?
Researchers in Spain1 have identified three ingredients in cosmetics that most often cause allergic contact dermatitis reactions.
Many people suffer skin allergies from chemical ingredients in their personal care products and cosmetics.
The researchers found:
- 19% reacted to Methylisothiazolinone (a preservative widely found in shampoos and skin care products)
- 2% reacted to Paraphenylenediamine (PPD, used in hair dye and often leads to lifelong sensitisation)
- 8% reacted to fragrance mixtures (used to fragrance practically all cosmetics, shampoos and body care products, not just perfumes)
Most recently an unprecedented increase in the use of the preservative Methylisothiazolinone or MI in personal care products has caused something of a skin allergy epidemic and many big name high street brands have been forced to remove the preservative from their products.
We have never used any of these ingredients in our natural and organic beauty products.
Do you have a shampoo or shower gel allergy?
Around 50% of the adult population have sensitive skin, affecting slightly more women than men. If your skin burns, stings or itches after the application of soap, bubble bath or cosmetics, then you may well have sensitive skin.
If you have skin allergies, as well as choosing gentle skin care products that suit your sensitive skin, you should look for a suitable shampoo and shower gel for allergies.
Green People shampoo, conditioners and body washes are made without SLS and artificial fragrances, both of which are leading causes of hair product and shower gel allergy and irritation. You may find that our natural, ultra-gentle products are ideal for your allergy prone skin.
Have a question about skin allergies?
Our UK customer care team are happy to help you identify which of our natural skin care products might be suitable for your skin. Please call us on 01403 740350 or chat to us on social @GreenPeopleUK.