Given the frequency of allergic skin reactions when I found this article by Mukti of Mukti Botanicals I thought it was excellent. It is an extensive look at how to manage skin allergies and so I have included it in full. If you have experienced allergic skin reactions at any stage I would love to hear what you did to overcome the problem or indeed if you are still trying to work out what the culprits are:
Allergies are a leading cause of chronic disease in western civilizations. With an annual cost estimated well into the tens of billions, allergies are believed to complicate and handicap the lives of millions of adults and children alike.
At some point most of us have experienced an allergic reaction or sensitivity to something in our immediate surrounds. It is unknown as to why certain individuals develop allergic sensitivities. In some cases it may take repeat exposures over a long period of time before an allergy actually develops or it could be due to a combination of certain chemicals or environmental exposure. Once you have become sensitized (allergic) your immune system “remembers” and you will continue to be sensitive to that particular ingredient. If you suffer from eczema a particular chemical may be the cause but other factors play a role as well. Whatever the case, reactions are very idiosyncratic and paradoxical in nature due to our unique biochemical makeup. Therefore it is difficult to determine and pin point the exact cause.
What we do know about allergies is that our immune system over reacts with its defence mechanisms to a familiar or unfamiliar substance with a unique response to each subsequent exposure. When our skin or system encounters an individual or combination of particular ingredients our immune system responds by accepting, rejecting or adapting to the substance. If a reaction occurs our body naturally produces histamines as a defence mechanism and to rid the body of the unwanted toxin.
A reaction to a substance can trigger a number of associated problems. Topically you may experience swelling, redness, itching, burning, rash like pimples and general irritation. Other symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, difficult or obstructed breathing and may be linked to a number of common yet serious respiratory illnesses such as asthma and sinusitis. Of greater concern is that in some cases reactions can be severe and sometimes even fatal.
Similar to our genetic predisposition such as height, eye colour and baldness, the capacity to become allergic is an inherent characteristic. Although you may be born with a genetic makeup capable of developing allergies, you may not be allergic to specific allergens. Several factors contribute and must be present for an allergic sensitivity to develop:
Two ingredients that are present in all mass-produced cosmetics and personal care products are fragrances and preservatives and are often thought to be the major contributors to skin problems. Fragrances whether they are synthetic or natural in origin can have a cumulative effect. Artificial fragrances can in fact be composed of more than 200 chemical constituents including known carcinogens such as methyl chloride. There is no current regulation for fragrance manufactures to disclose the ingredients or test for toxic synergies.
Preservatives are a necessary addition in skin care products. Without them moulds, bacteria and fungus would contaminate the product posing further health risks. There are now a number of efficient natural preservatives including: Citrus Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Co2 rosemary extract, Gum Benzoin, Grape seed Extract, Tea Tree Extract, Silver Chloride and other patented synergies that are derived from oils and extracts that have potent anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties. Manufacturers should be looking towards replacing commonly used broad-spectrum anti-microbial and agents and known sensitisers such as parabens (endocrine disruptors) and imidazolidinyl and diazolidinyl urea (formaldehyde releasers).
Dermal reactions are different from food intolerances; however diet does play a major role in the integrity of our skin. Ingested allergens should be independently assessed. Just because you are unable to consume nuts for example does not necessarily mean that you will have a negative reaction to a topical application of a known culprit.
What can you do?
Not only do cosmetics and personal care products alter the energy and well being of our skin, equally important is what we put into our bodies. How we think and feel also plays a determining role in the health of external appearance.
With correct management and education allergic responses can be controlled and eliminated enabling individuals with allergies to lead normal and productive lives. Fortunately more responsible companies are manufacturing veritably natural products that are free from harmful and synthetic toxic chemicals.Twitter It!
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