Cosmetics and skin care products are supposed to make us look and feel good. Millions of people of all ages use cosmetics daily. However, there are some cosmetic ingredients which can cause skin irritation and rashes. If you are suffering from skin issues like dermatitis, eczema or a heat rash, then it is even more important that you not use certain skin ingredients. Let us discuss the worst makeup for sensitive skin and the ingredients to avoid in skin care products like moisturizers when suffering from prickly heat.
Organic skincare does not mean it is safe!
Even top quality brands of skin care products and cosmetics contain skin irritants and additives. The rule of thumb to follow when selecting skin care products for sensitive skin that is prone to heat rashes is that “you should be able to eat the product you use on the skin”. Nearly 70% of the products we use on the skin are absorbed into our bloodstream. Therefore, do not even be fooled by labels like “organic” and “gentle”. Learn to read product labels and make your decision based on the ingredient lists.
List of common skin irritants in cosmetics
One of the most common skin irritant in cosmetics that could aggravate your heat rash is fragrance. It may be listed as “Parfum” in your product. If you are allergic to fragrance, then you must avoid products with parfum in it. Also, if you have a heat rash in the armpits, face, neck or hands etc, then avoid using body and face moisturizers having fragrances in them.
Plant oils or essential oils
Pure essential oils are generally safe for use but some oils can be so highly concentrated and pure that they could lead to an allergic reaction. Also, many essential oils belonging to the citrusy family such as Lemon or Lime oil, Tangerine, Bergamot, and Grapefruit etc are known to be photo-toxic. What this means is that the use of these oils could increase your sensitive to photo damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. This means that if you have a heat rash, you could literally burn in the sun if you have used one of the above phototoxic oils in your skincare. So, make sure you read the ingredients no matter how ‘safe and natural’ a product might seem.
People with a heat rash must stay away from skin care products with preservatives. These are added to the product to prevent degradation. Examples of such ingredients are Quaternium 15, imidazolidinyl urea, methylisothiazolinone and so on.
Dyes impart color to the product and ones like phenylene diamine present in hair colorants can aggravate a heat rash drastically. Even black henna used for temporary tattoos in Asia and Middle East is known to contain phenylene diamine. Manufacturers still continue to label henna or mehendi as ‘organic and natural’. So be very careful when using such products when suffering from heat rash.
What to do when heat rash is aggravated by harmful skincare ingredients that cause irritation?
If you suspect contact dermatitis, you need to, first and foremost, stop use of all the products.
- Wash the affected area with a mild soap and warm water. You may even use an aqueous liquid or an emulsifying solution instead of soap. These can be left on the skin as they act as a moisturizer.
- You might need a mild steroidal cream to prevent the rash from worsening.
- If the reaction is severe, visit your doctor for a prescription strength steroidal cream. In rare cases, you could require oral medicines to keep the rash in check.
- Once the reaction has subsided, get a patch test done to identify the allergen.
- This will help you avoid use of these skincare products and minimize the chance of developing rashes in the future.
General precautions to prevent heat rash and contact dermatitis caused by harmful cosmetics
- Wear 100% cotton clothing-avoid synthetic clothing. Use 100% cotton bedding. Avoid feather filled pillows.
- Limit or avoid use of soaps, chemical based perfumes, harsh fabric detergents and softeners, deodorants, cleansers, shampoos, bubble baths, fragranced toiletries, bath oils etc
- Find and use a gentle, non-irritating skin lotion/cream
- Stay in climate controlled cool environment.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water.
- Avoid sweating as it aggravates the rash and irritation.
- See a doctor if the rash worsens.