Do you suffer from sensitive skin? If so, you’ve probably already sought out moisturizers and skin care products that minimize negative reactions.
But what about your hair care routine? If you have sensitive skin, using harsh products on your scalp can cause redness, irritation, dandruff, flakiness, headaches and even excessive hair shedding and breakage.
When selecting hair care products, avoid these common irritants:
One of the more commonly recognized ingredients, sulfates, can strip your skin of natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, breakouts and more. Watch for common sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate and sodium laurel sulfate to avoid allergic and irritant reactions.
When you visit a dermatologist complaining about sensitive skin issues, the first thing they’ll advise is to eliminate fragrances from cosmetic products. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrances are considered the leading cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis.
Regardless of whether fragrance is synthetic (person-made in a lab), is a fragrance oil (person-made in a lab) or is an essential oil (extracted from plants through steam distillation), they are complex and contain an incredibly large number of chemical components.
Note: When looking for cosmetics without fragrances, fragrance free generally means fragrance materials and masking agents are not used in the product and unscented generally means fragrance materials and masking agents may be used to alter or neutralize odor from the product ingredients.
Not all preservatives are bad. In fact, you need preservatives to keep cosmetic products containing water shelf-stable. But, some harsh preservatives, like formaldehyde and methylisothiazolinone, can cause irritation, redness and other issues.
This is very surprising to a lot of people, but botanical extracts can cause serious allergic reactions to sensitive skin. Just because something is labeled organic or natural doesn’t mean it’s safe for your skin.
Similar to botanical extracts, essential oils can cause an allergic reaction to sensitive skin. Essential oils are extracted from plants' flowers, bark, stem, leaves, roots and fruits through steam distillation. You may be able to handle some essential oils, but not others. Avoid any essential oils and components of essential oils (i.e., lavandulol, borneol, terpineol, geraniol, linalol, etc.) that cause irritation and undesirable outcomes.
Some products contain chemical or physical exfoliants. Certain exfoliants can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin. If you want to use exfoliants, seek out products with gentler chemical exfoliants including poly hydroxy acids (PHAs), gluconolactone, retinoids and enzymes (like papain, papaya and pineapple).
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