5 substances in cosmetics that are most often responsible for sensitization

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Cosmetics are often allergenic. The reason for this are the substances contained in them. Which ones are worth watching out for to avoid allergies?

If after using any cosmetic, redness, burning, pimples or itching appears on the skin – this is a sign that the product has sensitized us. It turns out that there are many substances that increase the risk of allergic reactions, especially in people whose skin is prone to irritation. That’s why it’s always a good idea to read the composition of the products you buy and refrain from choosing those that contain such ingredients. 

1. Ethyl alcohol and fruit acids (AHAs)

Some of the ingredients that are more likely to cause allergic reactions are ethyl alcohol and fruit acids, which are usually designated by the abbreviation AHA in the formulation. 

Alcohol irritates the skin, dries it out and often contributes to the appearance of sensitization in the form of redness or pimples. 

2. Fragrances

Allergic reactions are many times triggered by fragrances. Studies indicate that they can sensitize up to 16% of consumers. Typically, the allergy manifests itself in persistent itching and hives accompanied by redness. Between 100 and 300 different types of fragrances can be found in the cosmetics we reach for every day. They are not only in toilet waters, perfumes and deodorants, but also in bath lotions, showers, shampoos, mouthwashes, toothpastes, creams or lipsticks.

Fragrances that are most often allergenic are isoeugenol, cinnamaldehyde, hydroxycitronellal, eugenol, geraniol or oakmoss absolute.

3. Essential oils

Essential oils extracted from plants also often irritate the skin. The most common allergies are caused by peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, pimento, thyme, lebiodine and citronella oils. 

However, it is worth remembering that there are oils that reduce irritation, such as rose oil, chamomile oil and almond oil.

4. Preservatives

Preservatives, or preservatives, can be found in many cosmetics, and they are the most potent sensitizers. Manufacturers use them to extend the shelf life of the product, thanks to them microorganisms do not develop in them, which can be dangerous to health. Unfortunately, their chemical action can irritate particularly sensitive skin. The most potent and also the most problematic for allergy sufferers are ethylenediamine, ρ-hydroxybenzoic acid esters, triclosan and mertiolate. Some of these preservatives have already been withdrawn and are not (or at least should not) be used in cosmetics. In lotions or creams you will most often find parabens, these are less chemical, but they too can cause irritation.

5. Dyes

Among the highly allergenic ingredients, it is impossible not to mention dyes. It is for this reason that cosmetics with intense colors, highly pigmented, cause allergic reactions. All because they use strong chemical compounds. 

main photo: unsplash.com/Nora Topicals

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