Cosmetics and Allergies

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 9:28 PM

Did you know that up to 10% of the population will develop some type of allergic reaction to cosmetics during their lifetime?  Did you know that some of these allergic reactions may develop after years of seemingly successful use of a product?

Cosmetics, including shampoo, perfume, soaps, and cologne, are a daily part of almost every American's lives.  Some ingredients used in making these products can cause allergic reactions.  These reactions can occur within minutes, hours, days, or weeks after being exposed to them.  Sometimes persons develop a reaction to an ingredient in cosmetics that they may have used for years.  This can make detecting the cause of the condition challenging and cosmetic allergies can often go misdiagnosed.  These reactions can include skin irritations, rashes, and even respiratory issues.

Frequently we look for some terms on labels that we think make cosmetics safer or healthier for us.  That may not be the case.  The term "hypoallergenic" is a term that is not regulated and has no scientific meaning, but it implies a level of safety that doesn't exist.  "Natural" merely means that it is from nature, either plant or animal, and has nothing to do with whether you might be allergic to it or not.  The same goes for "Organic."  "Unscented" and "Fragrance Free" also may contain ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions.  These terms all imply a low or no allergic reaction product; however, virtually all cosmetics can create allergic reactions.  Reactions generally come from specific ingredients in cosmetics, but can also come from improper use or storage.  What else might you not know?

Be informed!  Learn more about cosmetics and allergies, as well as safety, detection, and prevention strategies at:

www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/cosmetics?print=true

and

www.livestrong.com/article/246070-allergies-to-cosmetics/


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