You have sensitive skin if you're finding you can no longer use your favorite mascara, moisturizer or other skin care or cosmetic products you've used for years. Your skin may burn, sting or break out in a rash when using these same products.
Burning, stinging, redness, and acne are just some of the symptoms common to sensitive skin. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that approximately 50 percent of patients seen by dermatologists complain of sensitive skin.
Your sensitive skin may be caused by an allergic reaction or merely an irritation to an ingredient. For example, if you are truly allergic to a product or ingredient, your immune system quickly or over time reacts by making antibodies against what you are allergic to, with results of particular skin reactions. However, your skin may react to an irritating chemical, like coming into contact with a product such as a household product containing bleach. You may not be allergic to an irritating ingredient, even though your skin may react with symptoms. Whether an allergy or irritation the common result on your skin is inflammation with a variety of accompanying signs and skin conditions.
Most people don't realize what ever we put on our skin is absorbed. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the non-profit consumer advocacy group, most people use over 100 ingredients daily through skin care, makeup and personal care products. Most skincare, personal care and cosmetics ingredients have not been tested for safety by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For example, fragrance is added to just about all skin care, personal care and makeup.
In July 2014, a committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that styrene, a chemical used to produce a wide variety of products including fragrance, can cause cancer. According to EWG, due to a “fragrance loophole” in federal labeling law, ingredients added to provide a pleasant scent, or to mask bad ones, need only be listed under the generic term “fragrance”. In other words, the individual ingredients need not be disclosed on the label. The only way to stay away from styrene, is to avoid skin care, makeup or personal care products that contain fragrance. Fragrance is also added to laundry soaps and fabric softeners and other household cleaners.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published studies that overuse of antibiotics or antimicrobial agents may cause resistance to common antibiotics when needed to fight infection. In recent years, manufacturers have marketed antibacterial toothpaste, soaps and detergents aggressively. Most common antimicrobial ingredient used in these products is triclosan. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, 75 percent of Americans have triclosan in their bodies. Studies conducted over the past decade show triclosan can be absorbed by the skin and remain in the body within seconds of use of it in soaps or toothpaste. Research has shown this endocrine-disrupter has effects on the thyroid, estrogen, and testosterone hormones in laboratory animals, including mammals (chen 2008; Koeppe 2013; Stoker 2010; Zorrilla 2010).
As the FDA and CDC have already acknowledged, long-term use of antibacterial soaps or toothpaste could have adverse effects on health. With bleeding gums, ingredients in toothpaste can easily be absorbed into the blood stream.
Common Ingredients to Avoid
Since there are many types of sensitive skin reactions, it’s difficult to purchase a generic sensitive skin care brand that is a fit for all skin problems. However, there are certain ingredients that may be irritating and can bring about certain reactions.