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The reason most people avoid chemical-based beauty products is the fear of skin irritation. It is not surprising that the shelves can be full of many products labelled ‘natural’, even though some do not meet the standards. Some of these products can cause extreme sensitivity, rashes, itching, and allergic reactions. To avoid these symptoms, you need to educate yourself about the ingredients that compose these natural skin products.

Before choosing one natural beauty product over another, read through the labels to identify the ingredients used. Go for products that are all-natural, free from petroleum, parabens, and chemicals. Here are a few tips you can follow to protect your skin from sensitivity.

1. Be cautious with oils

Nut oils, such as peanuts and tree nuts, are known to cause allergies. Some skin products contain these ingredients, which may make consumers to develop allergic reactions. Tea tree oil also causes skin sensitivities for specific individuals. If that includes you, it’s important to avoid tea tree and its related compounds such as benzoin, colophony, balsam of Peru, eucalyptol, and plants of the myrtle family.

Jasmine oils are also used in most skin products because they have antiseptic properties and are also useful in adding fragrance. However, jasmine oil and other plant extracts can irritate. The sensitivity increases after spending time in direct sunlight.

Very little research has been done on oils compared to chemical-based skin care products. There might be a lot of oils we use without knowing how safe they are or what quantities are needed. Be cautious of products that may contain large amounts of essential oils. However, if you are using the right oils to treat the right conditions, use them in moderation.

2. Avoid citrus extracts

Extracts from citrus oils have phototoxic properties. Phototoxicity is a type of sensitivity caused by an immune system reaction to sunlight. Contact with limonene and citrus extracts causes your skin to react to the sun’s UV rays and cause symptoms such as sunburns and damage to skin cells. These compounds may also reduce your skin’s effectiveness as a natural barrier and allow foreign particles to enter.

3. Pay attention to fragrances

Most natural skin care products are labelled “unscented” or “fragrance-free” but may contain some fragrance ingredients used for other purposes than to add a fragrance. The label can be misleading because some of the fragrances contain chemicals that may irritate the skin. Some of the chemical names used to hide scents known to irritate include lyral, geraniol, eugenol, citral, farnesol, citronellal, coumarin, cinnamic alcohol, amyl cinnamaldehyde, hydroxy citronellal, and oakmoss absolute.

4. Avoid peppermint and menthol

Menthol is the most natural extract of peppermint, which is known to cause a cooling effect on the skin. However, some people might experience skin irritation when they expose their skin to sunlight after using menthol.

5. Avoid lavender

Lavender is often used in natural skin care products due to its antibacterial properties. However, it can irritate and especially when the skin is exposed to the sun. There are also people who are allergic to lavender.

6. Test the products before use

After purchasing a natural skin product, test it by applying a small amount on the inside fold of your arm. Try this twice a day for at least one week and keep an eye on rashes, bumps or itchy skin. You should stop using the product in case you notice any of these symptoms during the trial period.

As a precaution, read the label to identify the cause of the irritation, then opt for products that don’t contain those ingredients to avoid further itchiness or rashes.

When it comes to DIY skin care products and routines, do not try anything that has not been tested in the past. Body scrubs, cuticle oils, and makeup removers aren’t easy to make. Too much of one ingredient could cause adverse effects on your skin. You should also test the product on your hand before applying it on other body parts.

7. Stop using products when irritation starts

If you start feeling itchiness or having bumps and rashes, stop using the beauty product immediately. Such symptoms will most likely occur as an effect of the skin product you are using. If the irritation clears after a few days, you could do a patch test to confirm if it was indeed the product causing the irritation. Try using some over-the-counter hydrocortisone to ease the inflammation in case the irritation persists.

8. Consult your doctor

It’s important to seek the help of a qualified doctor whenever you notice consistent rashes, blisters, swelling, or other symptoms. There are many skin care professionals that can help to diagnose your skin problem. The most common is either a licensed dermatologist or aesthetician. A dermatologist is medically trained to treat patients for diseases and conditions by prescribing and administering oral drugs and topical creams. On the other hand, an aesthetician relies on detailed discussions with clients to give non-prescription solutions such as nutritional advice and skincare products.

The best option is to book an appointment with an aesthetician as they will take more time to observe your skincare routine. Aestheticians usually take time to dig deep into the history of your skin compared to dermatologists who will only spend a few minutes with you. An aesthetician will most likely identify the compound present in the product causing the irritation. Once the cause of your skin condition is identified, it will be easy to recommend the right medication or skin care product to use.

Sensitive skin can be anything from having rashes and hives to peeling skin. It can be both dangerous and uncomfortable, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. You should work on reducing the effects to avoid serious skin problems. Understanding what works for your skin and what doesn’t should be a priority. Some of the products marketed as ‘good for the skin’ or hypersensitive may end up being problematic to someone with sensitive skin. The most affected are people with acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

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