Are cosmetics affecting your allergy?

Are cosmetics affecting you?

Are cosmetics affecting your allergy?

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an allergy or not, finding cosmetics that don’t leave your skin an oily or dry, angry, rash-covered mess can be complicated. It can affect your entire day and ruin a good night’s sleep. They are one of many items that make living life with an allergy hard. It’s not as easy as putting down the makeup, as irritants are in everything from soaps to baby wipes.

Everyone is different

Unfortunately, even gentle ‘hypoallergenic’ products can leave your skin red and itchy, or you eyes swollen. So many new products hit the shelves each year that it can be difficult keeping up with what is and isn’t right for your skin. The fact is, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to what you should use. However, some ingredients will benefit you more than others.

If you think you’re reacting to a product, the first step is to eliminate as many products from your routine as possible and start to re-introduce them by patch testing.

What is a patch test?

If you aren’t familiar, this simple test can be carried out at home. All you have to do is apply a small amount of product to a ‘patch’ of your body (such as the inside of your elbow) and after a few hours, look for any signs of irritation. If your skin reacts, you’ll notice some itching or swelling in the area you applied the product too. Patch testing can help you identify which chemicals are causing your skin to react.

Irritant vs allergy

If the patch test leaves your skin looking angry, it could be either an irritant or an allergy. An allergy is likely to affect your skin several hours or days after being applied. This delayed reaction is known as allergic contact dermatitis. An irritant causes a response in less time, sometimes even immediately, which is known as irritant contact dermatitis.


Next time you want to try a new product, be wary of the ingredients. Even cosmetics that claim they are unscented may contain fragrances to mask the plain or chemical smell. Opt for fragrance-free toiletries instead and make a list of the ingredients you already know can irritate your skin. They may sound similar, but unscented products can also contain alcohol, parabens, and preservatives which are common irritants.

Plant extracts

Be wary of products that also contain plant extracts. You might believe them to be ‘natural’ and therefore less irritable, but that isn’t the case. While plant-based products are a fantastic alternative to perfumed cosmetics, plants may also be an irritant or allergen to your skin.

Although toiletries and bathing products for children aren’t usually as harsh on the skin, you may want to have your child tested for allergies too; if your child suffers from eczema, there is a greater risk of allergy.

If you’re unsure what’s causing your skin to itch and swell, book a test with one of our consultants today to limit your exposure to irritants.

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