4 Cosmetics for Allergy Sufferers
Finding the right cosmetics can be a pain if you suffer from allergies. My sister is allergic to an ingredient in most non-hypoallergenic mascaras, and her eyes swell shut if she uses the wrong kind. Her body’s reaction is fairly dramatic, but certain cosmetics may cause itching and rashes, which are also unfavorable for others.
The list of allergens in your cosmetics is pretty extensive, with each one falling into one of five classes: natural rubber, fragrances, preservatives, dyes, and metals. If possible, it’s important to figure out which is triggering you. But fortunately, there’s an allergen-free product out there to replicate just about anything on the market causing you to react. So whether you’re privy to sweet perfumes or liquid eyeliner, you can still have a look you want without the reaction. Here’s all you need to know about those common cosmetic allergens and some products you can use to avoid them.
1. Natural Rubber
Natural rubber, an allergen in cosmetics, will probably be labeled latex. And yes, latex is in items other than rubber gloves and condoms. It’s used in some skincare and makeup products.
Latex Allergies? Look for:
- Latex-free makeup sponges
- Latex-free lash glue
Sensitivity to fragrances is a common issue, and with over 25 fragrance ingredients as potential triggers for people with sensitivity, it’s easy to see why. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to go fragrance-free. There are plenty of clean, sweet perfumes, floral-scented lotions, and even room sprays with safe formulas for your use.
● The FDA doesn’t regulate fragrances quite as well as other countries, allowing brands to list “fragrance” or “perfume” as an ingredient without disclosing what those fragrance/perfume ingredients are. Check the European Commission for a full list of regulated fragrance ingredients.
Hypoallergenic Fragrance Options
- Essential Oils. One of the most natural routes you can take for an earthy, floral, or sweet perfume, essential oils sidestep a potential skin-alcohol sensitivity by simply being a natural oil.
- Oil-Based Perfumes. Aside from essential oils, there are perfumes made with an oil base rather than alcohol. They’ll absorb differently and may not last as long, but at least you won’t have a rash.
- Clean Formula Perfumes. Many brands are already way ahead in making perfumes for allergy sufferers. These scents, from sweet fragrances to darker, muskier aromas, will advertise their clean formula and are typically made without parabens, preservatives, or any of the other 24 ingredients that Europe has deemed unfit for our skin. If a brand utilizes a clean formula, it’ll be a large part of its identity.
As we mentioned above, if a product is free of preservatives, the brand will be advertising that – and it’s for a good reason. Preservatives help ensure a product won’t spoil, but it’s a trade-off, as they may cause allergic reactions or hormone disruption.
Preservatives to Avoid:
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Benzyl Alcohol
As wellness trends continue to rise in popularity, so does awareness about what’s in your products. From face serum to perfume to foundation, there’s a preservative-free brand or product out there in just about any category you can think of.
4. Dyes & Metals
Since most makeup products (and many cosmetics) either contain color or minerals, it’s common that their ingredients list has a few dyes and metals you want to avoid if you’re an allergy sufferer. When it comes to metals, not all of them are bad. Iron and zinc are healthy rather than harmful (hence why we often take them as supplements), but when it comes to other heavy metals like lead, you might be surprised what cosmetics are hiding. Lipstick, for example, is a frequent offender of lead contamination, and you’ll want to avoid any deodorant that contains aluminum.
Dyes go hand-in-hand with metal contamination. Dyes with a number in the name (Orange 5, for example) often come from ingredients that contain heavy metals, like coal, tar, or petroleum oil. If you’re looking for a safer bet, try to find products that contain pigments rather than dyes.
Look for Products With:
The Bottom Line
When it comes to cosmetics, there are a lot of brands out there that won’t do your skin or health any favors. But if you pay attention to labels and shop for environmentally-conscious brands, you’ll find that for just about any cosmetic product you need, there’s one on the market that won’t cause an adverse reaction. Read your labels and remember, if a brand is going all-natural or creating a product for those with sensitive skin, they’ll make that fairly clear. It’s a positive quality, after all.
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