While your favourite skin cream may help you nourish and moisturize dry, flaky skin, it can also have the opposite effect by leading to irritation or inflammation in the form of a dreaded allergic reaction. Although you may be completely aware of any food allergies, it’s easy to dab on a skin moisturizer, lotion or cream and suddenly be faced with an unexpected allergen. Here are a few skin care ingredients which can cause reactions.
1) Cocoa butter: While its rich texture has made it an essential lotion ingredient for many, cocoa butter can also lead to contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction that causes inflamed skin after using a particular skin care product. A cocoa butter allergy can result in a bumpy red rash and itchy skin. According to Livestrong.com, an allergic reaction can take place within 48-72 hours.
2) Shea butter: For anyone who suffers from a nut allergy, shea butter can quickly go from harmless moisturizer to potential danger. The Anaphylaxis Campaign reports that the risk is not great, but the ingredient can still affect anyone who is sensitive or allergic to nuts. This white fatty oil is actually derived from a nut which comes from the African shea tree.
3) Retinoids: Retinoids are a group of compounds which have Vitamin A benefits such as anti-aging and unclogging the pores. However, these compounds with powerful exfoliating properties can also cause skin irritation and lead to dryness or redness. If you experience swollen eyes while using a retinoid or retinol based cream, you may be highly sensitive to this ingredient.
4) Balsam of Peru: With a signature scent of cinnamon and vanilla, this resin from the Central American Myroxylon tree is used in products like foot lotion, sunscreens and body lotions. Its fragranced nature is known to lead to contact allergic reactions, especially among beauty lovers who suffer from fragrance sensitivity.
5) Methylisothiazolinone: Known as MI or MIT for short, this preservative with an incredibly long name is used in skin care buys like moisturizers or sunscreen, under the name Kathon CG. From unsightly blisters to intense swelling, the chemical is well-known to dermatologists as a cause of various allergic reactions.
6) Fragrance: For those with sensitive skin, an entirely fragrance-free skin cream or body lotion may be a smart beauty move. From botanical extracts to essential oils, a heavenly scent can become a nightmare if you suffer from sensitivity. Products labelled “unscented” or “fragrance-free” can even have subtle added fragrance or sneaky synthetic compounds that lead to a minimal scent- and possibly major inflammation.