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     Skin Care For Sensitive Skin       



Just how sensitive is your skin?


Does it seem as though that everything you put on your skin causes some kind of reaction? Does your skin get itchy and irritated?

Does your skin sting when you try different cleansers or moisturizers? Do you try the latest "natural" product and still have a reaction?

Do you try using products that have "soothing" essential oils and find that your skin reacts?

Although no visible sign of irritation is detected, numerous individuals experience itching, burning, stinging and a tight sensation. The skin can look and feel dehydrated.  The sensitive skin tends to heal or recover slowly.

A sizeable proportion of individuals through out the world claim that they have some degree of skin sensitivity. There are various surveys that have shown that 50-75% cosmetic users/skincare users believe that they have sensitive skin.    For example, in the UK, a survey was done with over 2000 men and women, and 38% of the men and 51% of the women claimed that they had sensitive skin. In California, a survey of 800 women, showed that 52% considered their skin as sensitive. In France, there were two seasonal surveys done in the winter and summer, with 2,000 individuals surveyed, and an average of 55% considered their skin as sensitive or very sensitive. 


Fragrance-Free & Hypoallergenic


It can be confusing and frustrating for someone who makes every effort to buy the right product that is labeled fragrance free or unscented, and still experience an irritating skin reaction. Some products marketed as fragrance free or unscented actually have synthetic masking fragrances in their product to disguise the odor or natural scent of the ingredients in the product. Since all ingredients used in a product have some type of odor, whether it be undesirable or unpleasant, manufacturers use these masking fragrances. These masking fragrances are not listed on the ingredient label. These masking fragrances can and do cause skin irritation.

For some time now, we know that fragrances can irritate the skin, especially if someone has sensitive skin.   Fragrances can be allergens, photosensitizers and phototoxins.   Many manufacturers formulate their products with fragrance because that is what the consumer wants. Consumers want a product to smell good and many consumers view a product that smells nice as being more effective and valuable.  Look at any cosmetic counter or shopping store and you will see that people will generally read the packaging label, then open the container or bottle to "smell" the ingredients inside that container.  If they like or agree with what is written on the label, they often will make their final decision on buying the product based on the "smell". How the product feels on the skin can be important in the buying decision process, but the fragrance or aroma can be the final selling factor.



What about essential oils?

A skincare ad for a particular skin care product may state that “fragrance is from 100% essential oils”.  Individuals interpret that “essential oil” means less or no irritation. The person makes the assumption that "essential oils" are better for the skin than synthetic fragrances, therefore they are not irritating or not as irritating to the skin. Sensitive skin conditions can have a reaction to “essential oils”. Even when the essential oils are used at a low percentage in the product, the skin can still react.  

The face is the most common site for cosmetic reactions, particularly in the neck region.  The skin on the neck can feel itchy and flushed.  A person will purchase a cream because the label states that the cream is for "sensitive skin" with "soothing essential oils" although their skin is not "calming" down.   Quite often, a person will use an exfoliating cleanser that has tiny beads or abrasives including essential oils in the formula.   The sensitive skin can react twofold: from the exfoliating scrubbing beads along with the essential oils in the cream product.

Even if one could use a skincare product with a small percentage of essential oil in the product formulation,there is a risk that the essential oils used in that product have been adulterated or modified with synthetic compounds or synthetic fragrances to give a greater yield, basically watering-down or diluting the pure essential oil.  The synthetic compound or fragrances mixed in with the pure essential oil may cause a skin reaction, rather than the pure essential oil by itself. 

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