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Cosmetic allergies: FAQ

Do you suspect an allergic or irritation reaction caused by cosmetics? Here you can find the most common questions on this topic.

According to Istat data for the “Italian report in figures 2016”, 10,1/100 people suffer from allergic diseases; WHO (World Health Organization) a few years ago stated that over 40% of the world population has one or more allergies, and that this proportion would have the tendency to increase all around the world.

Numbers are impressive and for this reason there is a strong demand for explanations on the subject.

There are several triggers: food, drugs, dust, pollen, insect bites, chemical and cosmetic substances.

In this article, in particular, we focus on everything to do with allergies or irritations caused by cosmetics, answering to the most common questions on the subject.


Allergies and irritations are not the same thing

The American Academy of Dermatology confirms that an adult uses an average of 7 cosmetic products a day: it gives the idea of the amount of substances with which we come into contact only through the beauty products. Some ingredients contained within them can provoke the “unwanted” reactions like allergies or irritations.

First of all, it is important to set a concept: allergy and irritation of cosmetics are not the same thing.

An allergy is an immune defense mechanism that is triggered when the body does not recognize a substance with which it comes in contact (the allergen).

The irritation, however, can be considered a hyper-sensitivity to a substance, so a reaction occurs only in that portion of skin that has come into contact with the substance.

It is possible to distinguish four different phenomena:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis: some substances cause, upon contact with the skin, an irritant reaction in a specific area;
  • Allergic contact dermatitis: the immune system of sensitive subjects generates skin manifestations in relation to a substance;
  • Photoallergic dermatitis: occurs when the person who applied the cosmetics on the skin is exposed to sunlight;
  • Urticaria contact: provides the appearance of hives more or less itchy.



Questions about cosmetic allergies

1. What are the agents that cause allergic or irritant reactions?

Any substance, synthetic or natural, may cause allergic reactions: this does not mean that the use of cosmetics is not sure but that there are particularly sensitive people to the development of allergic or irritant reactions.

The main culprits are: preservatives (which, however, are needed to protect the cosmetics from the proliferation of microorganisms), resins (contained in nail polish) and perfumes.

These last ones, in general, are indicated in the INCI with the word “parfum” because their composition can be very complex and include up to 50 ingredients: despite this, the Cosmetics Directive 2003/15 / EC has forced producers to indicate explicitly in the INCI the ingredients listed in a list of 26 items, as they have been identified as potentially more likely to cause allergies than any other.

They are: Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Amyl cinnamal, Amylcinnamyl alcohol, Anise alcohol, Benzyl alcohol, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl cinnamate, Benzyl salicylate, Butyphenyl methylpropional, Cinnamal, Cinnamyl alcohol, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Evernia furfuracea, Evernia Prunastri, Farnesol, Geraniol, Hexyl cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, Hydroxycitronellal, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linaool, Methyl 2-octynoate.

2. What are the areas in which these phenomena develop more frequently?

Usually the body most affected areas are the eye, lips, armpits, scalp and nails.

3. What should you do if it triggers an allergic or irritation reaction?

You must immediately stop using the product and consult a doctor or, better, a dermatologist who will prescribe the most appropriate assessment.

4. How can you prevent allergies or irritations?

People with allergies can prevent problems reading the INCI, the list all ingredients used in the cosmetic formulation.

A tip to everyone: when you use for the first time a cosmetic it is good practice to test it applying a small amount on the inside of the wrist. If you do not notice any redness or itching after a couple of days you can use the product with confidence.


Focus on Heavy Metals in cosmetics

Among the various allergenic substances there are also the “heavy metals”, naturally present in the water, in soil and rocks and that can, therefore, be traced in many processes, including those cosmetic.

Their application to the skin can be toxic for highly sensitive subjects: just to minimize the risks to health OllyNatural has chosen to test all its products for face, body and hair on six heavy metals: Nickel, Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Chromium and Arsenic.

Moreover, OllyNatural products are dermatologically tested, and this a great guarantee of safety for a cosmetic.


Some tips to reduce risk allergies

In addition to choosing products dermatologically tested and tested on six heavy metals, we suggest three good habits to reduce the risk of allergies and irritations caused by cosmetics.

Clean of the face every day, with products with natural active ingredients and, therefore, very delicate.

Do not use products looking not conform to the usual, or with a strange and unusual colour or smell.

Keep products in a cool and dry place, avoiding direct exposure to sunlight or damp places, to avoid the proliferation of microorganisms.

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