Thursday, 15 July 2010

A Sensitive Subject

Sarah Heenan, natural beauty therapist and founder of online organic beauty boutique,, takes a look at the issues around skin sensitivities.

The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in sensitised skin and allergic reactions. This is mainly due to pollution, environmental factors and altered immunity. Most skin responses to cosmetics are a result of skin sensitisation. This happens when the ingredients penetrate the skin too quickly and the skin’s natural barrier function is impaired. Once the product is removed from the skin the reaction will subside.
In most instances of skin allergy, the skin can become itchy, inflamed, red and sore. Many main stream products made with harsh chemical ingredients and synthetic compounds will exaggerate these symptoms, so it is good to search for products with organic and natural ingredients which will help the skin function correctly and not just provide a short term fix.

Quite often you can be happily using a high street product and then, out of the blue, will start to have skin sensitivity. This could be down to a change in ingredients in the product or it could be a result of the body reacting to a combination of products being used.

Three Reasons to go Natural
· We find one of the biggest reasons people turn to organic and natural products is because they have sensitive skin and are finding high street products over-fragranced and too harsh. With organic and natural products there are no harsh chemicals, no artificial fragrances, quite simply the ingredients are all chosen to be effective, gentle and help the skin work naturally.
· Organic and natural brands are very transparent in their communications and include a comprehensive list of ingredients on the product, so that you can see clearly what it is made of. If you do have allergies to a certain ingredient, it is very easy to check this.
· It is also the case that an individual can be allergic to a completely organic ingredient (for example, people can be sensitive to some of the Essential Oils) so it is important to be able to see at a glance what is in the product you are using.

The Ingredients Minefield
Where there is sensitivity to Essential Oils it is important, when checking ingredients, to check out the source, especially with fragrances. For example, Limonene is the term used for the synthetic fragrance, Lemon, but is also the name for Lemon Essential Oil. In order to differentiate, there is usually an asterisk or a comment next to the ingredient, stating ‘from natural essential oils’.
Cosmetic ingredients really can be quite confusing and sometimes totally innocent natural ingredients can sound like a harsh chemical, for example Methylglucose Sesquisterate is simply a plant emulsifier, or some ingredients which sound almost identical can be completely different.

The deciding factor can normally be found in the source, the preferred one being from an organic source. Again with organic and natural companies you will normally be able to check these ingredients quite easily and quickly.
However, there are now many ranges which are free from fragrances and herbal flower extracts. These include the Lavera Neutral and Green People’s Organic Base No Scent collection.

Everybody is Different
It is also important to remember that each of us are individual and hence our skin requirements are also very specific. Just because the product is natural and organic and has worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you, so it is important to try and test the product first and find the best product for you. At Lucy Rose you can receive one-to-one advice either over the ‘phone or via email, and just to be on the safe side, there is a free sample service so that you can try first.
Be Prepared for a Skin Detox
A few people find that when switching to more natural ingredients they experience a detox period of maybe a week, where the body adjusts and the skin may feel uncomfortable or may ‘break out’. This usually lasts no longer than a week and once the skin has adjusted it will feel better than ever.

It Really Works
We recently exhibited at the Allergy Show in Olympia and the response was overwhelming. We met a lot of people who for years had not been able to wear make up, use sun cream, or have spent hundreds of pounds trying to find a product that does not cause sensitivity. After trying some of our products and testing them over the 2 days, we had fabulous feedback and many happy customers who have been able to find something that actually works and does not cause the symptoms they had previously experienced.
At Lucy Rose we are very aware of our customers as individuals and are always here to help. We offer services such as the free ‘try before you buy’ and also personal consultations. As an independent retailer of organic and natural beauty products we only stock the very best brands and can give independent advice so you can find the right product for you.

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