Tag

dermatology

Skin

Top Recommendations for Patients With EczemaFeatured

Eczema is characterized by inflammation, barrier defect, blistering, itching, and very dry skin. Eczematous skin can get so dry that it cracks…and then microbial infection can become an additional problem.
What to do to keep skin with eczema smooth, happy, and healthy…and steroid free? Let’s start with what not to do.

What To Avoid:

  • Harsh soaps;
  • Hot water;
  • Frequent washing;
  • Drying alcohol (not all alcohol is drying);
  • Natural remedies (without your doctor’s ok) — many natural ingredients are common contact allergens;
  • Using topical steroids every day for a prolonged period of time — this can be dangerous to your skin and cause other serious health problems;
  • NOT using topical steroids if prescribed by your doctor;
  • Not taking other prescribed medication and not following your doctor’s instructions;
  • Using products with allergens, especially perfumes, dyes, preservatives or any other allergen identified by a patch testing.
  • Your allergens in everything else: skincare, makeup, shampoo, clothing, digital equipment, plants and fruits, house cleaning products, laundry detergent, room sprays, vaping, scented candles, etc.

Best Practices:

1) Practice Strict Allergen Avoidance.

Contact dermatitis is a common cause of eczema and flare-ups, which is why patch testing is standard in the diagnosis and management of the condition. Once you know what your allergens are, you can avoid them in your skincare, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, clothing, phone cases, house cleaning products and laundry soap, and more.
For more on common allergens, check out our popular Allergen-Not An Allergen tab. For products free of all or most common contact allergens, check out VMVHypoallergenics.com. If you would like customized product recommendations based on your particular patch test results, contact us or drop us a private message on Facebook

2) Less Is More, and Hypoallergenic Is Best.

The fewer products the better, and hypoallergenic products — without the top allergens as published by dermatologists who do lots of patch testing — are the safest options.

3) Your Dermatologist Is A Long-Term Partner, Not A Fling.

Your skin, as with all other organs, changes over time. If your eczema is being managed well, schedule an appointment with your doctor once or twice a year for a general checkup. Your patch test might need to be repeated because you may have developed new allergies (or outgrown others). And of course, follow your doctor’s instructions for flare-ups.

4) PRAM: Prevent, Repair, Antimicrobial, Moisture.

Normalizing eczema means babying your skin:
Prevent:

  • Avoid your allergens as strictly as possible.
  • Use very gentle cleansers, soaps, lotion…everything. Think “gentle” in terms of textures, too: no rough or abrasive fabrics or materials.
  • Look for products that are validated as hypoallergenic and that contain as few ingredients as possible.
  • Prevent flare-ups before they can even start by being consistent about your daily care and trying a steroid-free soothing balm or anti-inflammatory balm if you feel that there is a risk of a flare.

Repair:

  • The skin’s barrier layer becomes compromised in eczematous skin. Look for moisturizers that provide barrier repair like virgin coconut oil.
  • “Repair” here also means: quickly and properly address a flareup should an emergency happen. Your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid for a short amount of time. Immune-modulating and other anti-allergy drugs may be called for if the eczema is generalized or recurrent despite strict allergen avoidance. Antihistamines or centrally-acting medicines can help relieve severe itching.
  • Part of repair is normalizing skin quickly after a flare. Early on, apply virgin coconut oil (VCO) to soften the crust as it forms (the crust makes the skin dry, hard and itchy). Keep applying the oil for occlusion, giving skin a secondary barrier against water loss.

Antimicrobial:
Opportunistic bacteria and viruses can enter microscopic cracks in very dry skin to cause a secondary infection. This makes the management of eczema more difficult, and can make itching and dryness worse. Remember that some antimicrobials are allergens, too, so use a non-allergenic option like monolaurin) or ask your doctor for guidance as prescription drugs may be needed for a secondary infection.
Moisturize:
Avoid drying ingredients in skincare and be generous about applying occlusive, healthy moisturizers. It’s so important that layering moisturizers for extra protection is often recommended: follow a daily moisturizer with virgin coconut oil (VCO replaces the fatty acids that make up the skin’s cell walls which are destroyed with inflammation).

How To Care For Skin With Eczema

Based on what we know about eczema, we recommend this daily regimen:

  1. FACIAL CLEANSING: Red Better Deeply Soothing Cleansing Cream
  2. SHAMPOO & BODY CLEANSING
  3. CONDITIONER: Essence Skin-Saving Conditioner
  4. MOISTURIZERS:
  5. FOR CRUSTS OR VERY DRY PATCHES: Grandma Minnie’s The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm
  6. FLARE-UP PREVENTION: steroid-free Red Better Calm-The-Heck-Down Balm
  7. SUN & LIGHT PROTECTION, BARRIER PROTECTION: (physical sunscreens that double as a barrier cream to help prevent contact irritations)

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Check out the other posts in this series:

What Is Eczema?
What Causes Eczema?
Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Skin

Eczema Flare-Up? Here's What To Do…Featured

If you’re noticing a flare coming, try staving it off with a steroid-free soothing balm or anti-inflammatory balm. If you experience a flare-up, follow what your doctor prescribes.

First, practice mindfulness.

Eczema is an inflammatory condition. Panic and stress can fuel inflammation. Make your first action to practice your calming techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises.

Next, do what your doctor tells you…which is probably a steroid.

For emergencies, dermatologists will usually prescribe a topical steroid. For bad flare-ups, dermatologists may prescribe a steroid of moderate to high potency in a cream base for acute eczemas, and in an ointment base for chronic eczemas.
While a topical steroid may be necessary — which means you should use it as prescribed — remember that steroids are not meant for daily use over a long time (like a regular cream).
The goal is to quickly address the emergency, then move to softening the skin, and prioritize prevention to avoid future flare-ups as much as possible. Done right, strict allergen avoidance and a simple regimen that is ultra-gentle and prioritizes barrier repair should reduce your need for a steroid to one or two times a year, if that.

Then, focus on normalizing and getting back to prevention…

…by softening the dry skin that develops as the eczema moves into a subacute, then to a chronic phase.
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) applied at any phase of eczematous skin is soothing, and moisturizing. It is also, importantly, a gentle yet potent antimicrobial (secondary bacterial, fungal and even viral invaders can penetrate cracks in dry skin and worsen eczema and itchiness). VCO is also ideal for barrier repair because it replaces the fatty acids that that make up the skin’s cell walls which are destroyed with inflammation. Just remember to choose a 100% pure, organic virgin coconut oil, or one with monolaurin for additional antimicrobial protection.
All the above normalizes eczema, lessens inflammation, and helps remove dried-up crust, making the skin much less itchy. Once you’re in this phase, circle back to strict allergen and trigger prevention and your gentle regimen.
TIP: VCO is especially soothing on flaring skin when stored in the refrigerator here it naturally “butters” (it melts upon contact with skin). Or, use the VCO as a cold compress on eczematous skin.

Do NOT:

  • Ignore your doctor’s orders.
  • Reach for natural remedies without your dermatologist’s approval (many natural ingredients are common contact allergens).
  • Continue to use your topical steroid beyond what is prescribed to calm an acute flare-up.

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Check out the other posts in this series:

What Is Eczema?
What Causes Eczema?
Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Skin

What Causes Eczema?Featured

Eczema causes include…

a. Contact dermatitis

From…

  • Allergens in skincare and makeup;
  • Clothing, jewelry, eyeglasses, accessories;
  • Phone and computer materials and protective cases;
  • Flowers, plants, and fruits;
  • Insecticides, dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, house cleaning solutions;
  • Airborne allergens from perfumes, room sprays, even vaping.

There are many more common contact allergens than you might think. This is why a patch test is normally done if eczema is suspected. For more on common allergens, check out our popular Allergen-Not An Allergen tab. For products free of all or most common contact allergens, check out VMVHypoallergenics.com. If you would like customized product recommendations based on your particular patch test results, contact us or drop us a private message on Facebook.

b. Atopic dermatitis:

Atopy means an inherited allergy. It is…

  • …Atopic dermatitis when the target organ is the skin;
  • …Rhinitis if the target is the nasal passage;
  • …Bronchial asthma if the target is the bronchial passages (the lungs).

c. Hereditary or acquired:

Because atopic dermatitis is hereditary, it often starts in infancy or early childhood.
Contact dermatitis, on the other hand, tends to develop later as we become more exposed to allergens in things that we use, touch, and are otherwise exposed to.

d. Nummular eczema…

…is caused by a combination of factors that include:

  • Atopic skin with bacterial contamination;
  • Insect bites;
  • Friction and irritation from rough materials; and/or
  • Allergic contact dermatitis.

These factors make the skin hyperactive, causing the large circular patches that characterize nummular eczema.

e. Seborrheic dermatitis

Also known as skin dandruff of the scalp or face often starts as scales. If irritated or secondarily infected (those opportunistic microbes again!), they can become eczematous.

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Check out the other posts in this series:

What Is Eczema?
Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…
Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Skin

What Is Eczema?Featured

Eczema is…

…not any “sensitive skin.” Eczema is a general term for atopic dermatitis, which is the inflammation in the upper dermis of the skin.
This inflammation brings about “edema,” which is swelling from fluid retention. The fluid then moves upwards to the epidermis (the skin’s topmost layer), collects in between cells, and eventually becomes fluid-filled “bubbles” on the skin’s surface.
These bubbles get bigger, then enlarge, become blisters, dry up, and crust over, which is when they can get itchy and develop cracks. Opportunistic microbes can invade the skin through these cracks, causing more dryness and itching.
Redness is common, too, and indicates an active inflammation from…

  • The barrier defect inherent to atopic dermatitis; and/or
  • An offending product with an allergen — which is why patch testing and using validated hypoallergenic products are so important;
  • A secondary infection; or
  • Dry, crusty skin.

Removing the cause removes the inflammation and reduces the redness.
Note: Food can also contribute to redness. Scratch testing can help but positive results do not always correlate with the eczema flare-ups.

?

Check out the other posts in this series:

What Causes Eczema?
Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…
Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Beauty, Healthy Living, Skin, Skinthusiasm

Skincare To Swipe Right On

Skincare To Swipe Right On

You’re so good about eating well (your friends say you should start charging for tips), exercising daily (people call out your name when you walk into the gym), sleeping more, controlling stress, and being happier (your new nickname is sensei). For your skin, you’ve done your research (you’re on a first-name basis with beauty bloggers), you’ve become a formidable “skintellectual” and have your alpha hydroxies and antioxidants down (your dermatologist asked for your opinion about a new sunscreen). And you’ve finally, carefully chosen a skincare partner. This is the moment of truth: you’ve hit the end of what you can control. Your skin is now largely in the hands of the products you’ve selected to deliver on their promises and (please!) not cause damage you’ll have to correct later. Your power over your skincare product ends as soon as you put it on. Will it do what it says it does? Is it as safe as it says it is?

Skincare As Dating

We use the word “partner” for a reason. When dating, you work on you, scope out the options, identify a possibility, do some background checking, gauge his or her friends and then…you wait and see. Sometimes that trust is well placed and leads to a rewarding relationship. Other times, you’re let down. You might get hurt. You need time to recover. You’re left with scars.
Luckily, skincare needn’t entail as big a leap of faith as love. There are well-established standards of proof that are far more reliable than, “but he seemed so nice!”

Beauty is “Proof,” Proof Beauty

Slightly tweaked, Keats’ famous lines are an ode to that gold standard of scientific validity: the randomized, double-blind, evidence-based clinical study — which we at VMV Hypoallergenics have always done. Our investigative studies are scientifically robust and impressively so. One published study is eyebrow-raising; we have over 75. In the hyperbolic world of cosmetics, true beauty lies in evidence. Putting your faith in the double-blind study is far better than flying blind.

Research Terms To Swipe Right On

“Clinically tested” can mean lots of things. Some tests are more subjective, mainly consisting of people sharing their thoughts about a product (“99 out of 100 women say they saw an 80% reduction in wrinkles”). There is nothing wrong with this type of test, but it does rely primarily on the test subjects’ own opinions of what they see in the mirror, how they feel, and even how much they like the brand and the type of product they were given. Other tests use qualitative data like before-and-after photos. While helpful, these photographs are generally considered to be less conclusive than quantitative data such as objective measurements of certain biological aspects of the skin using specialized equipment. Rare in cosmetics, double-blind (meaning the subjects never know what they’re using). “Evidence-based” means randomized, double-blind trials with quantitative data — which is standard in prescription pharmaceuticals, and at VMV.

A Well-Rounded Partner

“Evidence-based” is in our safety as much as our efficacy. A study on our VH-Rating System, the only hypoallergenic “grading” system of its kind, was published in one of the leading journals on contact dermatitis and is proven to be effective at increasing customer safety, showing less than 0.1% reported reactions in 30 years. A new patch test study with multiple VMV products on hundreds of subjects showed zero irritant and allergic reactions, even in conditions allowing for greater contact of products on the skin and expected to produce reactions earlier and faster than normal. Another study on the non-comedogenicity of virgin coconut oil was presented at the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) meeting.
Our research includes investigative and case studies, too, and not just for cosmetics. Our research covers issues as diverse as nutrition and acne, psoriasis, pemphigus vulgaris, and mycosis fungoides (a type of cancer of the immune system). Such research is not cosmetic, but adds to our understanding of the skin, diseases, treatments, and treatment mechanisms. This knowledge contributes directly to how we develop all our products — from cosmeceuticals to basic care and even makeup.
One published study is a major achievement, unusual for cosmetics. We have over 75. We might be a skin health and beauty brand, but proof is our business.
proof
100% Skin Love
These medical measures are objective, well-proven, consistent and replicable. They reduce the risk of disappointment and adverse effects significantly.
It’s a pretty awesome thing, actually: unlike some dates, skincare that looks this good — this scientifically, objectively robust — “on paper” can be relied on. It will keep its promises. It will deliver. It’ll help you feel good, too. It’ll boost your confidence. It’ll never judge you, just help you. It’ll never ask you for anything in return. It’ll love you for life. It’ll love your friends and family. It’ll protect you. It’ll be loyal, and it’ll get more rewarding the longer you stay with it.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It can show signs of internal problems before even a blood test, MRI or x-ray. Our skin is fundamental to how we live in the world. It controls our temperature, it expands and contracts as we need it to, it protects us. It is vital to how we sense fear and love. So much of intimacy and sexual attraction is about skin and touch. Skin-to-skin contact is important not just for sensuality but for us as humans  — studies have shown that babies suffer developmentally and physically by not being held enough; doctors advocate skin-on-skin contact between mothers and newborns for improved bonding, physical and emotional development and healing (even improved survival rates from body warmth). And our skin’s health is how we present ourselves to the world. Clear, healthy, vibrant skin is a great ingredient to that happy stew of goodness that helps you feel good about yourself.
Your relationship with your skin is not something to be taken lightly. At the very least, skincare should be expected to keep the promise built right into its name: care.
More Resources:
For more on testing at VMV, see About VMV: Our TestingAbout VMV: Clinical Studies, Published Articles, References or search skintelligencenter.com.
To shop our clinically-proven safe and effective products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. For help putting together regimen to help you achieve your skin goals, or for recommendations customized to your patch test results, ask us at (212) 217 2762.

Skin

Your Hair Care Can Help (Or Hurt!) Your SkinFeatured

Let your hair care help, not hurt, you.

Believe it or not, your hair care matters to your skin.
Comedogens in shampoos, conditioners and styling products can trickle down onto skin, clogging pores and causing acne. Allergens can cause acne, too: while they don’t clog pores the way comedogens, do, they can irritate pores, causing an infected pore, aka acne. If your problem is sensitivity, flaking or rashes, allergen-free hair care can prevent flare-ups…sometimes dramatically!
For more on how hair care can affect your skin, check out these articles:

Skin

Beauty is “Proof,” Proof Beauty

One published study is a major achievement, unusual for cosmetics. We have over 75. We might be a skin health and beauty brand, but proof is our business.
Medically Published Studies: Proof Positive
Great skin is never just about skin care — it’s why we always say “skinside-out” health. Still, a daily at-home regimen is vital for your skin’s basic health and the right active therapies are instrumental at helping you achieve your skin goals. Look closely at those two factors, however, and you’ll notice that the first (your health) is almost entirely within your power and the second, after selection, is mostly now up to the product. Put another way: you could be doing phenomenally well at quitting smoking, improving your nutrition, sleeping more, controlling stress and exercising every day…but if you choose skin care that isn’t effective (or worse, that actually works against your skin!), what then? When you choose skincare you are putting a lot of trust in that product. And if you’re keeping your word, shouldn’t it, too?

Beauty is “Proof,” Proof Beauty

Slightly tweaked, Keats’ famous lines are an ode to that gold standard of scientific validity: the randomized, double-blind, evidence-based clinical study — which VMV HYPOALLERGENICS has always done. Our investigative studies are as scientifically robust and impressively so. One published study is eyebrow-raising; we have over 75. In the hyperbolic world of cosmetics, true beauty lies in evidence. Put your faith in double blind … far better than flying blind. “Clinically tested” can mean lots of things. Some tests are more subjective, mainly consisting of people sharing their thoughts about a product (“99 out of 100 women say they saw an 80% reduction in wrinkles”). Others use qualitative data like before-and-after photos. Such photographs can be helpful but are generally considered to be less conclusive than quantitative data such as objective measurements of certain biological aspects of the skin using specialized equipment. Rare in cosmetics, double-blind, randomized trials with quantitative data are standard in prescription pharmaceuticals. And at VMV.
“Evidence-based” is in our safety as much as our efficacy. A study on our VH-Rating System, the only hypoallergenic “grading” system of its kind, was published in the leading journal on contact dermatitis and is proven to be effective at increasing customer safety, showing less than 0.1% reported reactions in 30 years. A new patch test study with multiple VMV products on hundreds of subjects showed zero irritant and allergic reactions, even in conditions allowing for greater contact of products on the skin and expected to produce reactions earlier and faster than normal. Another study on the non-comedogenicity of virgin coconut oil was presented at the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) meeting.
Our daily reality includes research, investigative and case studies, too, such as on nutrition and acne, psoriasis, and pemphigus vulgaris. Our study on mycosis fungoides (a type of cancer of the immune system) was presented at the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) meeting. Such research is not cosmetic, but it adds to our understanding of the skin, diseases, treatments, and treatment mechanisms. This knowledge contributes directly to how we develop all our products — from cosmeceuticals to basic care and even makeup.
For more on testing at VMV, see About VMV: Our Testing, About VMV: Clinical Studies, Published Articles, References or search skintelligencenter.com.
To shop our clinically-proven products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com or call (212) 226 7309.

Ask VMV, Skin

Are Natural Ingredients Really Good For Sensitive Skin?

Yes and no. Yes because natural (or really, organic, which is a regulated term) means less processing. Less processing means less contaminants (like specific chemicals used in growing, storage, or extraction), additives (like flavors, colors, fragrance, or preservatives), or alterations (like bleaching or heating). Because many contaminants, additives, and alterations are common allergens, organic can mean less risk of an allergic reaction. No, natural ingredients are not necessarily good for sensitive skin because many natural extracts (although by no means all) are common allergens.

“But I was told to look for ‘hypoallergenic’ for my super sensitive skin…which means ‘natural,’ right?”

Natural does not mean hypoallergenic. In fact, the opposite is frequently true. Many natural ingredients are highly allergenic, such as fragrance oils, citrus, beeswax, fruit and flower extracts, tea tree oil, ylang, ylang, etc. The image above is a very small snapshot of many, many published studies on contact reactions and allergies to several natural ingredients.

Food and skin allergies should not be equated (because different cells are involved, you could be allergic to a food and still be able to use it as an ingredient in skincare, and vice versa — don’t experiment without your allergist’s guidance, however). But in both food and skin allergies, an ingredient’s level of “naturalness” isn’t necessarily what makes it allergenic. If you are allergic to strawberries, bee stings, dairy, mangoes, pollen, or dander, you should avoid them no matter how organic they are. In skincare and cosmetics, if your patch test shows that you are allergic to chrysanthemum, lavender, or citrus extracts, you should avoid them even if they are certified organic.

“But what if I’m committed to a completely natural, totally unprocessed lifestyle?”

This might be the goal, but it would be close to impossible to achieve. Almost anything in nature needs some type of processing to be used in skin care, so that they can be mixed and stabilized. Even if an ingredient is truly “raw,” it still probably underwent a little rudimentary processing. For example, virgin coconut oil needs to be pressed out from coconut meat. Strictly speaking, just the pressing is a type of processing. What you would need to know is what specific processing was done and how much of it was done. Our virgin coconut oil is certified organic from soil to tree, and is first-and-cold-pressed — meaning we basically just press the oil. Some other coconut oils are processed with heat which can alter some of the oil’s chemical makeup. Other coconut oils are processed with additives that can be allergens, which can leave traces in the oil and cause reactions (check out this helpful article in skintelligencenter.com for more on virgin coconut oils).

In other natural ingredients, processing can yield surprising results. For example, the distillation process to make essential oils — even organic, “raw” oils for massages or scents — can create chemicals that did not exist in the original plant. And even if they were somehow processed not to create these new chemicals, many natural oils are comedogens or allergens just as they are.
One other important consideration: whether or not an ingredient is natural has little to do with its efficacy. Studies that are “evidence-based” (double-blind, randomized trials with quantitative data) are the gold standard to prove efficacy, but they are relatively rare in cosmetics. Publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal or presentation in a medical conference is rarer still but adds even more scientific validity to the study. Unless a natural ingredient is proven to be effective, it may not yield the results you’re looking for. If the natural ingredient is also a photo-allergen (reacts with light to cause darkening) or is comedogenic, it could also be working against you by causing dark splotches or acne. Check out this article for how hypoallergenic can help all skin concerns.

As well, the term “natural” is not currently regulated so it is almost impossible to confirm how natural a product is, how natural its ingredients are, or how much processing was done to those ingredients. The term “organic” is regulated and requires certification. Organic is certainly the best choice for most things. But hypoallergenic (validated “hypoallergenic” — ask for proof) trumps organic every time when caring for sensitive skin.

“What if I just do not want to use anything with chemicals?”


 

This is an admirable goal and one that many people share. Invented chemicals like PVC are toxic and the earth doesn’t have ways to break them down. Highly processed foods are proven to be damaging on many levels, from obesity to toxins that accumulate in the body. But lessening processed foods and trying to use more biodegradable options is not the same as “avoiding chemicals altogether.”
The line between “natural” and chemical is difficult to draw. “Chemicals” can mean almost anything, including “natural” ingredients. Everything in nature has a chemical structure, is composed of chemical elements (see the periodic table) and has a chemical structure. The chemical structure for water is hydrogen and oxygen, and is shown above. Also shown above is the chemical structure of glyceryl laurate (monolaurin). Monolaurin is derived from coconut oil and is an excellent, very natural, non-allergenic, non-drying antimicrobial (so natural it’s found in breast milk).
 

“What if I’m allergic to chemicals?”

It’s more likely that you are allergic to common allergens. Allergens (substances more likely to cause an allergic reaction) are determined systematically in patch tests on thousands of people in different countries and are published regularly. The recent publications regularly include results on over 20,000 people in multiple countries in North America and Europe. We also regularly monitor published reports regarding allergic reactions from other countries such as Australia and Japan.
If you have a history of reactions, skin sensitivity, dark splotches, or acne, look for proven, validated hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic claims. Or, even better, ask your dermatologist for a patch test. It is the most effective way to accurate identify what exactly you might be sensitive to. If you’re in the USA and your dermatologist is a member of the American Contact Dermatitis Society, she can even enter your patch test results into the Contact Allergen Management System (CAMP) and give you a list not only of ingredients to avoid but actual products you can use.

Shop:

To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.

Learn More:

To read more about natural versus hypoallergenic, check out Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn’t).

For more on the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.

Featured, Skin

Get A Patch Test Or Photo-Patch TestFeatured

This is one test that can change your life.

If you’ve had skin problems for years, a patch test is one of the most powerful tools to help you finally achieve clarity.
This painless procedure shows you exactly which ingredients or materials you, in particular, are sensitive or allergic to. A photo-patch test is similar but shows what is triggering your hyperpigmentation. The results from these tests can help you more accurately select products that do NOT cause your skin problems, and help you steer clear of ingredients (but also textiles, plants, and other substances) that you need to avoid, resulting in…
…no more (or far less frequent) redness, itching, and rashes;
…relief from chronically dry skin, scaling, and flaking;
…more consistent clarity in inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis;
…clarity of acne (allergens don’t clog pores the way comedogens do, but can irritate pores, causing infection and acne);
…more effective lightening of dark spots, blotches, and larger areas of skin.
Check out Skintelligencenter.com to learn more about patch tests and photo-patch tests.
To find a dermatologist near you who does patch tests, visit the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Featured, Skin

Stubborn Skin Problems? You May Need An Investigative DermatologistFeatured

Your skin may need further investigation.

Most dermatologists can handle the majority of skin concerns, and jumping from doctor to doctor isn’t the best idea. Usually, it takes a few visits for a doctor to get a full history and see how you’re responding to certain suggestions, procedures, or treatments.
But some specific skin conditions or chronic problems may require a more investigative diagnostician or a specialist.

  • Does your doctor take a full, detailed history, including past diagnoses and test results, other health conditions, vitamins, nutritional supplements and medications, nutrition and exercise, your work and hobbies, your favorite clothing and the materials you’re normally exposed to (such as laptop or phone cases, eyeglass frames, etc.)?
  • If you’ve had chronic sensitivity or hyperpigmentation, does your doctor recommend a patch test (for the former) or photo-patch test (for the latter)?
  • Does your doctor explain to you possible cross reactions or interactions between certain vitamins, food, beverages, or drugs that are known to cause acne, sensitivity or hyperpigmentations?
  • Is your doctor a specialist in contact dermatitis, with knowledge of various ingredients and substances, and how their chemistry might make them related to other ingredients and substances?
  • Does your doctor tend to explain her or his recommendations to you based on current studies?
  • Does your doctor do research or teach residents?
  • Has your doctor ruled out other possible health concerns that could be affecting your skin, such as PCOS, diabetes, thyroid issues, inflammatory conditions, etc.? Does he or she ask for other blood or hormone tests? Has she or he mentioned the possibility of referring you to another doctor to explore other health concerns? For an example, check out My Dermatologist Has X-Ray Vision.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a specific skin disease, are you seeing a physician who is known to be a specialist in the condition?
  • Is your doctor a dermatopathologist (someone who can read biopsies) as well as a dermatologist?
  • Does your doctor seem supportive of you seeking a second opinion, and/or working as part of a team with your other doctors to manage your health?

Again, most well-trained, properly boarded dermatologists can effectively manage the majority of skin concerns. But a subset of people may require more specialized care. Don’t hop around, but don’t give up, either.