As we become increasingly conscious of what we’re putting in our body, we are also becoming more aware of what we put on our body. According to market research, brands that market their products as “natural” now represent the largest group of high-end skincare sales, as more consumers demand products free from unnecessary “chemicals”.
Marketers will have you believe that natural or organic is synonymous with healthy but that is not always the case. People have to be really mindful of the fact that just because a product is botanical or natural, does not mean it won’t be an irritant or an allergen (especially for people with sensitive skin). Poison ivy is organic and it is NOT good for you. People are often shocked to hear their rashes, blisters, itchy skin, swollen eyes and lips can be caused by Mother Nature.
According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, researchers at the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, which tracks dermatologic allergic reactions in patients, have compiled a list of about 80 plant-based oils that can cause allergic reactions. Surprisingly, they include things like the seemingly-harmless tea tree oil, jasmine, peppermint, lavender oil, and ylang-ylang oil. And these oils often appear in all-natural products like lotions, soaps, deodorants, and shampoos. Some essential oils have been linked with hormone disruption. Pregnant women are advised to completely avoid oils like Rosemary as it can cause miscarriage.
It is important to note that nobody is born allergic; allergies develop over time. Sometimes, people are surprised because they’ve always used a particular product and then one day, they develop an allergy. The more often people use some known allergens, the more likely they are to develop an allergy to them, since your immune system can decide to become allergic, even after you’ve used a product before with no issues.
Natural products are not all bad; just don’t assume they’re the best for everyone. Many people use natural products and never have a bad reaction, but it is a good idea to proceed with caution. If you notice that you develop a reaction after using a new product, stop using it immediately and see your dermatologist. If you’re planning to try out new natural products, I suggest you introduce one product at a time, using your arm as a patch test first, leaving the product on overnight.
PHOTO CREDIT: Simply Naturale