Hypo-Allergenic Skin Care
Allergies and skin sensitivity can plague you no matter what type your skin happens to be. Minimizing the potential of allergic reactions involves using skin care products designated as hypoallergenic, or formulated for sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic skin care routines require a gentle hand, a combination of the right products and a watchful eye.
An allergic reaction is an immune system response called an immunoglobulin E or lgE response. While parasites in dust, pet dander or pollen are the culprits typically associated with allergic reactions, in reality, you can be allergic to almost anything. Allergic reactions to environmental substances such as ingredients in skin care products, produce a reaction called a type I hypersensitivity reaction. Symptoms range from a simple rash to the appearance of hives, says sciencedaily.com.
According to HealthGuidance.org, it is more often the additives that manufacturers put in cosmetics and skin care products that cause problems rather than the main ingredients. Additives such as fragrance, preservatives, antioxidants, sunscreen ingredients and dyes are the most common allergy- producing ingredients. Of these, DermatitisFacts.com lists fragrance and preservatives as the additives most likely to produce an allergic reaction.
Hypoallergenic skin care products feature ingredients less likely to produce a type I hypersensitivity reaction. This does not mean ingredients will not produce a reaction, but that the product does not include well-known allergen ingredients. Hypoallergenic skin care products are generally fragrance-free products with fewer ingredients than you may see in comparable products designed for normal skin types. To assist you, some manufacturer websites provide a list of ingredients their products contain, as well as ingredient lists for specific products.
Dr. Thomas J. Morris, board certified dermatologist at the South San Francisco Medical Center Dermatology Department, provides a list of tips and recommendations to consider when planning your hypoallergenic skin care routine. These include making sure to read product ingredient labels, understanding that the words “natural” and “organic” do not necessarily mean hypoallergenic and choosing the correct type of moisturizer for your skin type. Moisturizer types, from the lightest to the densest, include lotions, creams and ointments. In addition, Dr. Morris recommends using moisturizers on damp instead of dry skin, as hydrated skin is more effective at sealing in moisture. He cautions against using traditional alkali based soaps, opting instead for hypoallergenic soap substitutes. Test new skin care products in an inconspicuous place, such as under your jaw or in the crook of your arm before using them all over. Use caution even with products you use daily, as product “improvements” can mean ingredient changes that may cause an allergic reaction. Finally, keep your skin routine simple, using as few products as possible.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not define or regulate the term “hypoallergenic.” Manufacturers have nothing to prove and are free to use the term “hypoallergenic” to mean anything. However, the FDA does require manufacturers to list ingredients on the product label as a way for you to protect yourself from ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction.
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