The hidden home skin allergy risks

Blog, Sensitive Skin

Summer is upon us, and whilst those blue sunny skies and smells of freshly cut grass bring a wealth of happiness for some, others might find themselves worrying about stuffy noses and rashes from hayfever, leaving them sat indoors in a “safe haven” away from the elements. But what if the safe haven of your home was also a cause of allergies?

Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, is here to tell you about the hidden skin allergy risks in your home and how to avoid them.

Your make-up and face creams

Your handbag essentials such as mascara, concealer and foundation may give you the world of confidence but these can also spark off an irritant or allergic reaction in some due to the fragrance and preservatives within the product.

If your face starts to sting or flares red after applying the product you may be having an irritant reaction so beware of product ingredients. Keep your eye out for ingredients labelled as “plant extracts” as these can sometimes cause allergic reaction due to them having tea tree oil, citrus extracts or lavender included.

What if I have had a reaction?

Firstly, you need to find out where the irritation is originating from by eliminating your products one by one. It’s not necessarily a new product that you have only just started using either – sometimes our favourite foundation can go from being our best friend to our arch nemesis as a product that you have been using for a while can cause a reaction all of a sudden.  It also doesn’t matter how much you’ve splashed out on your make-up either – an allergy and irritation flare can still occur regardless of how much you’ve shelled out.

Once the reaction has settled, try testing your products on a small area of the skin (like behind your ear!) to correctly identify any allergy. Bear in mind that even products claiming to be ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural’ can cause irritation or allergy.

If you can’t identify the product to which you’re reacting, see a consultant dermatologist and they can organise contact allergy ‘patch’ tests to identify the product to which you might have become allergic.

Cleaning products & washing-up liquid

Chemicals in certain household cleaning products can irritate the skin when the two come into contact with one another. We make sure that our Surcare products don’t include enzymes, dyes or acids and we stay completely fragrance free to protect those hard working hands of yours.

What if I have had a reaction?

Wearing rubber gloves to stop contact with the cleaning or washing-up product is an option to eliminate the risk of potential further irritation.

Laundry detergents and fabric conditioners

Laundry detergents can be harmful to skin as they often contain highly irritable ingredients such as enzymes, dyes, and fragrances. Babies and children often react to products like this as their skin is sensitive and still developing

What if I have had a reaction?

Always turn over and check out the ingredients label so you know exactly what chemicals are going in with your washing.  Even some non-bio products contain fragrances and dyes that can cause irritation so look for a product that doesn’t contain any of these. Switching to a laundry range like Surcare that doesn’t include any enzymes, dyes, acids or even perfumes will help.

Your jewellery

If your costume jewellery leaves a rash or causes your skin to itch you may be allergic to nickel. Nickel is a metal that is used all the time in our everyday lives; especially in jewellery, belt buckles, watches and denim studs. These common, seemingly innocent accessories could be the cause of swelling, itchiness and rashes.

What if I have had a reaction?

You can be wearing something made from nickel for a while before you develop an allergy, but once it flares up you need to avoid wearing it as the metal sensitivity won’t go away.  Pure gold and silver jewellery are a safer bet as they usually don’t irritate skin.