Skin care has been a trending topic since people were stuck at home in 2020 — having more time to explore self-care than usual. Now, having a skin care routine is commonplace, and social media is filled with tips, tricks, and products that may help stop aging or reduce sun damage.
What happens when you try a new product and experience a skin reaction? Most doctors will diagnose the problem as atopic dermatitis, prescribe a steroid cream or other topical solution, and then move on. But most commonly, people react to a product because they have an allergy to an ingredient within it, or environmental allergies that impact their Total Allergen Load, and diagnosing that allergy and treating it can help you get back to that simple pleasure of skin care.
The first step to avoiding reactions is to read the labels on every product you use, every time. Ingredients can change at any time and without notice.
On the front of the product, you may see a label that claims hypoallergenic, unscented, and/or organic, but there are no regulations that companies must adhere to add this label to their product. The best option is to always read the specific ingredients on the back of the product.
Any company can label their product as hypoallergenic — there are no regulations in place in the U.S. to help define what is truly hypoallergenic. Typically, brands put this on their product to show that it causes less reactions than other products, but there is no way to truly tell.
Any added fragrance can cause an increased risk for reactions — not just skin reactions, but sniffing, sneezing, and coughing, too. Try unscented products and be sure there are no fragrances listed on the ingredient label. (Again, products can have unscented labeling and still contain fragrances that could cause you to react).
Products labeled as organic typically have fewer ingredients and stay away from harsh chemicals that can cause irritation. They tend to use more natural ingredients that are commonly known and are not as obscure as some found in other products.
Reading skincare product labels is the best way to avoid product reactions. But to know what to avoid, you must know what causes your reactions. More about that in the Treatment section of this blog. Once that is determined, you can look closer at the products you use daily.
The FDA put together a list of common allergens in skin care products and cosmetics, listed in five different categories. Other common ingredients used in skin care that you may already know you react to include:
- Almond, shea, and other nut butters
- Essential oils
When trying a new product, the golden rule should be don’t cover your face and neck with it right away. Apply to a small area for the first application and watch for a reaction.
Your reactions may be to a specific ingredient, or related to your Total Allergen Load. When your allergen exposure (to environmental and/or foods allergens) is at its peak, introducing a skin care product may cause your bucket to overflow. Too many factors may be present that put your body into reaction mode and adding a skin care product could be the tipping point that causes a reaction.
Whether it’s a specific ingredient or your other allergies causing your body to go into overdrive, treating the cause can help bring luxury back to your daily skin care routine.
Allergy drop immunotherapy following the La Crosse Method™ Protocol starts with an exam and history to determine your trouble areas, followed by allergy testing to determine exactly what you’re allergic to, and at what level.
Personalized allergy drops can be prescribed to slowly introduce your body to the things that make you react, with gradually increasing doses that train your body to stop reacting. If you’re ready to learn more, find a provider near you that offers testing and treatment.