It’s springtime, which for a lot of people means it’s allergy season. People experience allergies in many ways, some more common than others. Springtime allergies are usually associated with watery eyes and a runny nose, but many people also experience skin irritation, such as rashes, hives, or general itchiness. Besides the normal remedies like antihistamines, many people turn to lotions and balms to soothe hot, itchy skin caused by allergies. What some people may not know is that many name-brand lotions contain ingredients that can worsen or even cause skin reactions for those with sensitive skin. Here’s a list of some of the worst lotion allergens you may find in commercial lotions.
1. Artificial Fragrances
Artificial fragrances are the number one culprit when it comes to skin allergies caused by lotion. Many people enjoy (and even collect!) scented lotions without much thought as to how those scents may affect their bodies. Up to 20% of people experience some sort of reaction due to scented products, from lotions and balms to perfumes and deodorants. It’s so common, in fact, that many businesses and organizations have begun employing a scent-free policy to prevent their employees and customers from experiencing a reaction. If you’re worried that fragrances may be causing you skin discomfort, you might want to try a hypoallergenic lotion like my unscented hand cream, or my Little Mouse Sauce Gentle Calming Lotion. It’s formulated with calendula oil, which is proven to naturally soothe itchy, sore, or inflamed skin.
2. Food Allergens
Many ingredients that are good for your skin are edible – from olive or coconut oil to various plant extracts. You may not even know you have a food allergy, or not think to look for food allergens on the label or ingredients list, but rest assured – allergies are allergies, whether the allergen is ingested or spread on your skin. If you’re concerned you may have an undiagnosed food allergy, you should consult your doctor. Simple, painless skin tests can be administered by an allergist to determine your allergy profile. Be sure to scan lotion labels for known allergens before you apply them.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils are found in many skin and beauty products as a natural way to add fragrance and various health benefits. They’re usually made by distilling plant matter down to an extremely concentrated, oily liquid – the ‘essence’ of the plant! While essential oils can have many uses, they’re also very potent. If you have a mild sensitivity to, say, cloves, you may have a strong sensitivity to clove oil. Their extreme potency can cause skin issues in many people, similar to artificial fragrances. Fortunately, essential oils are usually listed individually on lotion and cosmetics labels. If you discover you have a sensitivity to a given essential oil, make sure to read the labels on all your skincare products before using.
A Note on Preservatives
Preservatives are chemicals used to stabilize all manner of products, including lotions. While there’s a chance that some preservatives may cause skin irritation, the miniscule risk they pose is far outweighed by the benefits they provide. Most lotions are water based. Anything with water in it is at risk of contamination from bacteria, yeast, or mold, which can cause health problems much more severe than skin irritation. Sauce for Skin products never contain more than 0.5% preservatives by volume. This ensures a safe product with a long shelf life while minimizing the risk of irritation for those with sensitive skin.
There are a lot of irritants and allergens found in skincare products. It’s important to remember, however, that most people aren’t allergic or sensitive to these ingredients. Even those who do have a sensitivity are often only sensitive to one or a handful of ingredients. If you’re concerned you have a sensitivity or allergy to a common lotion ingredient, you should try a gentle, hypoallergenic lotion like my Little Mouse Sauce. It’s formulated for sensitive skin and infused with anti-inflammatory ingredients to prevent skin discomfort. Like all my products, it’s made with minimal preservatives (less than 1% of total raw ingredients!) and naturally sourced, minimally processed ingredients.