How To Read Product
Labels To Keep You And Your Skin Safe
you have skin allergies of any kind you will rapidly become an avid
reading labels carefully does not mean this will fully protect you.
example if you have perfume allergy you will need to be extra
you will need to watch for are :-
that seems obvious doesn't it?
relying on the words fragrance free, non perfumed, and the like does
not always mean there is no added fragrance to the product. It may be - but you cannot assume.
fragrances are added to products not to make them smell nice but to
mask the unpleasant smell of the other ingredients, the amounts may
be small but if you are allergic it can cause you a problem.
times a fragrance may be added for its use as a preservative, not as a
perfume, yet it is still an issue to those who are allergic.
you are allergic to fragrances it may also be wise for you to be
careful or to avoid products with the following ingredients as
Ask your doctor or dermatologist for guidance.
you are allergic to any specific ingredient or chemical also do make
sure you know all its other names. If you have been Skin patch
allergy tested your dermatologist should give you a list of what you
need to avoid with all its other chemical names as well. Do read and understand all the names of what you are allergic to.
my experience-unless there is a full list of ALL the ingredients
listed- I need to ask the manufacturer for ingredients and to specify
what i am allergic to.
I must have written to more than 50 companies
so far to check their ranges and specific products within the ranges
to check if they might be suitable for me. Sadly not all responded to me and they are Off my list now. The ones that responded are the ones I consider.
have an allergy to fragrance and perfume. It came up on my skin patch allergy
tests as quite a "good" reaction (which in my case was a
big red welt that took 2 months to go down).
was somewhat surprised as though I have never worn a lot of
perfumes. I have worn one or two when going out for dinner, a
special occasion etc and loved various body lotions that were
adored my scented candle collection and loved filling the home with
always knew my skin was a little sensitive as I could only wear a
couple of perfumes and they were of the "purer" variety.
Experimenting with lower end teen type perfumes would generally
bring me out on a little irritated rash when I was a teenager so I
quickly learned to avoid those. However with others I was OK.
years I have used washing powders and liquids for clothes that
invariably tell you that they have a fresh spring scent or a clean
washing up liquids discuss the bouquet of flowers that you have
when using their brand etc.
never thought much about it to be honest. We always avoided the
obvious plug in varieties of synthetic fragrance - just because we
didn't like it but it was only after my diagnosis of being severely
affected my perfumes that I started to really look at what we used
on ourselves and in the home.
Fact Is Fragrance Sells...
of us love it ! Next time you are looking for a body lotion, cream,
shower gel washing detergent think what you do, do you ever lean
down and smell it? I know I did and if I liked the scent then I was
halfway sold on it.
ads portray the sensual woman who smells great (with a perfume) the
sexy man who smells great(with the aftershave) The cute baby who
Whether artificial fragrances are good for us or not we
have learned from a young age that our own scent is simply not good enough. I mean
everyone wants to be clean and fresh smelling of course! However,
to be clean and fresh by washing is not it seems good enough
anymore, we have to cover and mask and have a perfume on.
many products now contain perfume and it is on the rise. There was
no where near the amount of fragrance products even 30 years ago.
Look on the shelves and try to find a products that does not
contain fragrance, EDT, perfume.... You will find fragrance in Haircare, skincare, washing up
liquid, baby products, washing powders and liquids, conditioners,
soap, etc most of it totally unnecessary. Even some sanitary wear is now putting perfume in it!
some is natural perfume much of it is synthetic....
no wonder we are now learning that allergies to perfume are on the
rise too. Even children bombarded by synthetic perfumes from birth
are becoming allergic to this over artificially perfumed world.
studies discuss that fragrance allergy is a leading cause of
contact dermatitis and fragrance allergy sufferers can also display
symptoms ranging from hives, headaches, wheezing and other
breathing issues and sneezing.
rarely wore perfume as such, but I did use body lotions and on
holiday sunscreens (most of which do have fragrances in them-even
though you may not be aware of it)
although I was Ok ish for years I became allergic to fragrance and
this can happen to anyone at any time....
bear in mind my severe reaction here was a result of a combination
of 4 different allergic reactions to what was in the sunscreen I
used-ironically to protect my skin!
what can you do about it if you have a fragrance allergy?
mine is a contact allergy I essentially have to avoid coming into
contact with anything or anyone that has had perfume on it. So that
means using only non scented washing powders or liquids,
haircare,skincare, deodorants, suncreams, soap, washing up liquids
and household cleaning and polishing items.
means not having or not lighting any scented candles, not wearing
any perfumes, avoiding anyone else who might spray perfumes in to
the air, avoiding polish with fragrance in it, avoiding shops or
salons or spas where you can smell the perfumes as you walk in.... avoiding anything with a scent.
it smells nice I cannot have it ! It is
easier said than done!!
is unlikely that I am allergic to ALL fragrances but the problem is
pinning down to the ones I am. In the fragrance patch test they use
a mix of the most common to cause allergies. The problem in todays
world is that there are so many fragrances all mixed up and used in
the purer and more natural the better chance that I might be Ok
with it. I already know that I am Ok with some real scented
flowers- but NOT with the synthetic copies of those flowers....
am still hoping that at some time in the future i may be able to
use one or two pure essential oils for when I feel like wearing a
perfume or maybe could add to a wash, but for now its safer for me
to AVOID all fragrance on my skin.
check with companies to know if fragrances are used in their
products. Hopefully ingredients will be listed on the product.
any event ALWAYS read the full ingredient list and do a patch test
you are interested in learning more about fragrance allergy these
websites may be useful to you.
had skin patch testing done for my unexplained skin condition. It does
not hurt but is a little inconvenient and the reactions I found to
be a bit itchy. However it was certainly worth it to find out why
my skin was reacting so badly. I wish I had it done much earlier.
Patch Allergy Testing Procedure
procedure I went through took one week. I had to first go to the clinic on a Monday
morning to have the patches with known allergens onto my back.
felt like a series of very large sticking plasters. After that I
was not permitted to get the area wet or damp so I can only have
very shallow baths and not very warm either so as to avoid steam
getting the patches damp.
to all the markings the nurses make it is wise to wear a T shirt or
shirt you don't care about as the marks may stain clothing. I wore
a couple of old T shirts day and night. It is actually easier to
wear clothing that unbuttons down the front as less hassle to get
on and off.
the Wednesday I went back to have the patches removed and a first
reading taken. Still had to keep area dry.
Friday I had to go back again for a final reading and to see the Dr
for a final diagnosis and discussion. For me there were three very good reactions
which clearly stated what I was allergic to. I was then given
sheets with an explanation of the allergens and all I had to avoid-
which in my case is a lot!!
Of My Skin Patch Allergy Reactions
is a photo of how my back looked after having the allergens on my
back for 2 days. As you can see there is some reaction shown in 3
areas where there is redness. It was also quite raised and very
Few Helpful Tips
Wear clothing that is easy for you to remove and put back on.
The patches go across your back and the markers can stain so wear something that you don't care about too much.
Wear something in bed at night as well to protect the patches from coming off.
If you get a reaction it may well itch or feel sore. Do not scratch it.
I was advised not to take antihistamines but to contact them if the itching got unbearable. It was very itchy for me but I did not need to ask for any medication as it is only a very small area of irritation.
video below explains skin patch allergy testing.
also shows a demonstration of an actual skin patch allergy test. Of
course do discuss with your healthcare professional exactly how your
skin patch testing will occur as it may vary from place to place and
So you have a diagnosis of various things you are allergic to and is it important that you tell anyone else?
It is of course your decision... In my case I felt that it was important to let key people know so that I did not put myself in danger of going through all the blistering and rashes all over again. Also because one of them is Penicillin it is vital that no one gives me that.
am allergic to 5 main things :-
Balsam of peru
preservatives commonly used in skincare and medical preparations.
to this it is important that key people in my life are aware of them
and the reactions I can have.
Person You live with. In my case my husband has had to change a
lot of his products as well and we have had to change how we clean
our home and wash our clothes so clearly he needs to be involved and
aware. He has been very supportive!
and wider family - in my case so they don't use perfumes
when they see me, are understanding when we visit and also so they don't make the mistake of buying
presents that are toxic to me!
can only find one shampoo and conditioner that I can use so far and
its not the one my hairdresser salon uses. So I discussed it with him
and we agreed I would bring my own. Have to say my hairdressers have
been wonderful, accommodating me at quiet times so I am not exposed to
too many hairdressing chemicals and really looking after me.
It is important in my case as some dental compounds contain the
allergens I have so i gave them a detailed list of what I am allergic
staff-If you are going into hospital for surgery it is important
tell them what allergies you have- whatever the allergy.
Staff -Beauty or "pamper" treatments- tell your
therapist BEFORE you start treatment and preferably when you book
what your allergies are. They may work around them or may advise you
not to undertake that treatment.
Clearly your GP/Doctor will know but do remember to tell any
GP/Doctor/Healthcare professional that you need to see if you
are away from home or if abroad on holiday or for work.
8. Carer. If
you have a carer to support you they will also need to be told what
you are allergic to and what products you can and cannot use.
Services if necessary. With many allergies it is safer and
easier for you if you wear a Medical ID Pendant Or Bracelet with the
names of the allergens on so that if you cannot communicate the
healthcare teams will know what is safe for you to use. There are
ones available for men , women and for children and can be one of the
most important piece of jewellery you own.
10. Your Place Of Work. This may be important simply to let your employer and workmates know in case you get a reaction to say a perfume a colleague is wearing, or due to for example chemicals you regularly come into contact with that you now need protecting from.
Well it has been a hectic time so not been doing much posting lately. I was reflecting on how my skin condition has impacted on my life over the festive period. I was invited to and went to a party just before Christmas and then it was a question of what to wear!
Before the skin allergies I would have just chosen a dress I liked and that suited me. However now I have to take other factors in to account. my skin is still delicate so I tend to keep to very soft fabrics so that had to be a consideration. Then I could not be sure that other people at the party would not wear or spray perfume so I had to go for a dress that would cover me up more. So no sleeveless or backless dresses I had to go for one that was made of a supersoft material, had long sleeves and would be giving me a good coverage. I found a beautiful soft and stylish red dress with long sleeves and a v neck. With a lovely scarf added I felt confident that my skin was well protected. Of course I couldn't wear perfume but I could wear the bare minerals make up which is gorgeous and I went on to enjoy the party !
Whew! The hot dry weather we have been having has not really agreed with my skin. It has dried out much faster and wen it gets dry it gets sore. As its been sooo hot I have felt like I have needed two cool baths a day- this has helped with the soreness but need to be very careful not to increase the dryness. So I have been keeping well hydrated by drinking lots of water and applying moisturiser. I have also stayed well out of the sun and the heat whenever possible. Luckily our patio area is in shade for most of the day after about 11am. I used to think this was a negative but now it is an absolute positive ! So I can still sit outside with friends and enjoy the garden not being in the sun! Currently wearing at least two light layers of clothing so that any sun cannot hopefully get through. I also have a shawl that has an inbuilt sun protection factor of 50 which is just perfect for wrapping up in and not getting hot while being protected. I wear a big hat and sunglasses too. So while I do love the sunshine I have found this year I have to take a lot of precautions in order to look after my sensitive skin.