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fragrance

Featured, Skin

“Skintimate” Problems: Skin Issues Related to Underwear, Sex & Other Things That Might Embarrass You (But Shouldn’t)Featured

Skin problems can cause embarrassment. This can be especially true for skin problems affecting the “nether regions” — areas of the body that so many of us are taught to think of as shameful, not to be spoken of, or at least extremely private. Of course, they aren’t shameful and we should all know more about skin problems that appear on the genitals, or that are related to sex or our undergarments. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be shy about consulting a dermatologist to make sure that we get an accurate diagnosis and address the problem properly.

Darkening and other Skin Problems in the Groin, Stomach, and Bra Areas

Elastics, dyes, chemical processing (bleaching), scratchy fabrics, and preservatives in fabric can cause itching, rashes and, over time, darkening around the groin, scrotum, buttocks, bra area, and stomach. But it’s not just underwear that can cause these problems. Seats and lower back cushions with leather, rubber, vinyl, and other allergens can also be at fault.
While a rash, itching, or discomfort may bring you to your dermatologist, an asymptomatic condition called pigmented contact dermatitis (PCD) — a faint to mild and progressive darkening that is frequently considered “just part of aging” — might be missed. PCD can be seen around the groin, in between the buttocks, in the genital and scrotal areas, on the nipple and surrounding areola, under the breast, and/or on the stomach. It’s often missed as a type of contact dermatitis because it doesn’t start out as a rash or itching…it darkens gradually over time. While strong bleaches (some with steroids) can work to lighten the hyperpigmentation, the darkening will recur without proper prevention. Patch testing easily proves the (+) and relevant chemicals that cause the reactions.
In addition to getting a patch test so that you can practice more accurate prevention, good practices include choosing underwear that is made with elastic-free, organic (bleach and dye-free) cotton like those from Cottonique. Choose chairs with seats and lower-back surfaces that are not made of rubber or leather, or dyed. If this isn’t possible, place a barrier between you and the surface. Try a white (or, even better, uncolored) cotton towel.
Wash underwear and the barrier you use on your seat in Fawn & Launder or diluted Superwash. If you are sensitive to chlorine which is often present in tap water, rinse these items with distilled water.

Diapers

Anyone, of any age, who uses diapers can develop irritations and/or allergies on the areas of contact, especially because of the extended time of contact and in an enclosed, often humid environment. Many allergens and irritants go into the materials of diapers themselves, so try to look for unbleached options. Or consider cloth diapers or underwear with built-in pads. Pure organic virgin coconut oil (VCO) like Know-It-Oil is a great option as it cleans well without roughness, provides antimicrobial protection, and also moisturizes the area to help prevent diaper rash. Adding a purely mineral barrier might also help prevent irritations from chafing or contact with elastics.

Diseases That Can Involve the Genitals…

…include viral warts and herpes lesions (which are infectious and spread faster in ano-genital skin). Other more infectious diseases include chlamydia (the most common STI in the world), gonorrhea, syphillis, and HIV. Use a condom when having sex but get a patch test as you might be allergic to some materials commonly used in condoms. Note that not all these skin lesions are sexually transmitted. Toilet paper can cause skin problems and molluscum contagiosum can be transmitted via towels and sheets.
Don’t be shy: if you see or feel lesions in the genital areas, set a consultation with your dermatologist or gynecologist.

Genital Skincare

Irritations and abrasions on or around the anus and other genitals can be helped by Boo-Boo Balm.
Know-It-Oil can also be inserted to soothe and reduce inflammation: put some into a needless syringe. Store it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. When the VCO is a cold “butter,” insert the syringe into the vagina or anus and push the plunger. The oil is quickly absorbed and does not tend to leak — if you’d like more precautions, do this before going to sleep and place a towel between you and the bed. Important: Consult your gynecologist. There are no studies on inserting VCO into the genitalia at this time. There seems to be some discussion in the medical community about whether VCO is preventive of yeast infections or has the potential to disrupt the native flora of the vagina (since it is antibacterial and antifungal) because VCO innately only treats non-commensal microbes. There are a number of well-respected hospitals (Sloan Kettering) and published doctors who do recommend using virgin coconut oil as a lube or moisturizer. But because your doctor knows your particular history best, check with them. If your doctor does give you the go-ahead, make sure that the oil you insert is pure, organic, cold-pressed VCO (not coconut oil with additives, grown with pesticides, or handled with less sanitary methods).
When using lube, look for for fragrance- and preservative-free options. VCO can also be used as a lube, but not with latex condoms as latex is broken down by oils (of any kind).
Sanitary napkins with fragrance, dyes, and preservatives are common causes of itching, irritations, and allergies. While harder to find, there are unscented and unbleached options. Feminine washes and douches are unnecessary and potentially harmful: risks include skin issues as well as offsetting the important and delicate balance of microbiota in the area.
Wash with a gentle, allergen-free liquid soap like Clark Wash instead. Pure organic virgin coconut oil like Know-It-Oil can be used for cleansing and/or barrier repair of chronically irritated and inflamed skin.

Hyperhidrosis (Sweating a LOT)

Excessive sweating that is visible and even drip from the skin may be a condition called hyperhidrosis (if it is accompanied by a bad odor, it might be bromhidrosis — see below). The sweating can be localized on the underarms, palms of the hands and soles of the feet, or generalized, affecting larger areas of the body or the whole body. All the typical things that trigger sweating (such as anxiety, heat, exercise, spicy food) worsen sweating but with hyperhidrosis, sweating can occur without triggers and even in the cold.
Hyperhidrosis can be caused by thyroid problems, menopause, diabetes, obesity; some cancers or neurological damage; or could be related to other underlying conditions. Your doctor can help you investigate the cause further. Even if unrelated to another health condition, hyperhidrosis can be frustrating. It can cause visible sweat stains and ruin fabrics. It can cause discomfort with simple social interactions like shaking hands. If severe, the sweating can cause keyboards and other electronic equipment to malfunction. And an unpleasant odor can develop.
Use a strong antiperspirant like Essence Skin-Saving Antiperspirant or Illuminants+ Axillight Treatment Antiperspirant on all affected areas. Botox® injections can stop the production of sweat in the area for several months. Consult your dermatologist for options.

Bromhidrosis (“Bad Smell”)

This perceived “bad smell” mostly occurs in the axillary or underarm area (if it is apocrine bromhidrosis). It can also be from other parts of the body (eccrine bromhidrosis). Apocrine and eccrine refer to the two types of (sweat) glands that we have.
Eccrine glands are most numerous on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet but are everywhere on the body. When the body’s temperature increases, they produce sweat that is normally odorless, more dilute, and watery. It can also begin to smell due to bacteria, some foods and medications, or alcohol.
Apocrine glands are located in the groin, breasts, and underarms and produce a thicker sweat that contains pheromones. Apocrine sweat begins without smell, with odor developing as bacteria break down the sweat.
All humans have a natural, healthy colonization of bacteria and other microorganisms that coexist in a complex, sophisticated, functional balance. Sometimes, when this balance is thrown off, one microorganism can begin to dominate and cause problems.
Odor is caused when bacteria break down sweat resulting in fatty acids and ammonia. In bromhidrosis, a higher level of bacteria break down the sweat in the apocrine areas (the most common type of bromhidrosis is in the armpits), resulting in a stronger or foul-smelling odor. If hyperhidrosis  is also a concern, it needs to be addressed as well for the bromhidrosis to be managed.
Management of bromhidrosis includes…

  • The same sweat control with Essence or Illuminants+ Antiperspirants mentioned in hyperhidrosis, above.
  • Practicing proper hygiene (wash the areas at least twice a day) with…
  • Unscented products such as Essence Superwash. While it may seem counterintuitive, a common cause of bromhidrosis is the scent of sweat interacting with perfumes in products.
  • Following antiperspirant with Id Monolaurin Gel or Kid Gloves for additional sweat control as well as antibacterial care. Id Gel and Kid Gloves can be reapplied throughout the day, too.
  • Removing hair regularly to help prevent the accumulation of bacteria and sweat on hair shafts (particularly armpit hair).

Depilation or Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a great option but — especially if you have brown skin — comes with the risk of hyperpigmentations. Make sure to see a specialist familiar with laser procedures on brown skin. Brown skin can include paler mixed skin as well. And note that laser hair removal might not not work for individuals with very light hair coloring. For this procedure, it’s clear that a specialist is important.
Waxing and sugaring are also worth considering, but hair growth will recur. Particularly when waxing (because of the heat and tearing), consider using an anti-inflammatory like Red Better Calm-The-Heck-Down Balm and ice afterwards.

Caring for Someone Who Needs to Spend Several Hours In Bed or Otherwise Not Moving Regularly

VCO is an excellent option for the daily washing of the perineal area, and can be applied at every diaper change to prevent rashes, sensitivity, and infection. This, plus regular massaging of the areas with VCO can also help prevent bed sores.

This information should not be considered medical advice. For skin problems, and certainly for those affecting sensitive areas of the body such as the genitals or that may be related to sexual activity, see your doctor.

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

The Best Virgin Coconut Oil Should Smell Like…Nothing?Featured

For many people, part of the allure of coconut oil is its characteristic odor, reminiscent of a tropical paradise and festive, delicious food. But as a general rule, the stronger the scent of a coconut oil, the less pure it is. This is not necessarily a bad thing: coconut oil is so good for you that even impure oils are better than most! But for skin and hair care — particularly for very sensitive or atopic skins, or medically-managed skin conditions — organic, first-cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is the most hypoallergenic.

The Nose Knows.

When virgin coconut oil is harvested quickly, using no heat or chemicals, there is hardly any odor. This method, however, is more expensive as it is slower and less efficient. Heating, the addition of chemicals, and/or other methods of processing, are faster and get more of the oil…but do result in a less-pure oil with a strong scent.
Getting into the chemistry a bit (a very tiny bit, we promise): the natural scent of VCO is due to the presence of lactones. Not all lactones are allergens, and the lactones in VCO are not among those in the sesquiterpene lactone mix (a common allergen and a standard in patch test trays). Still, heating results in an increase in lactones, which is why unheated VCO is safer.

Still…Not All Odorless Coconut Oils Are For Skin

Another type of coconut oil that has little to no scent is RBD (Refined, Bleached, Deodorized) — which, while scentless, is not recommended for skin.
In RBD coconut oil, deodorization is done by vaporization: high heat and pressure to steam off the smell. This completely masks the inherent odor of the raw material, as well as the smell from the outdoor sun or smoke-drying of the older meat. This is because RBD is made from copra or coconut meat that is dried via sun exposure (such as on the sides of roads and highways). The resulting scent is quite strong and can affect cooking, which is a primary purpose of RBD coconut oils. Hence the need to Refine, Bleach and Deodorize copra oil by both pressure and with chemicals: RBD makes the taste of coconut cooking oils more bland/generic, which allows it to be used for a wider range of dishes.
While less ideal than virgin coconut oil, RBD oil is still healthier than corn and other vegetable oils for cooking. Still, while without scent, this treated RBD oil is an irritant and should not be used on the skin.

So, As Long As the Label Says “Virgin Coconut Oil” and The Oil Doesn’t Have a Strong Smell, It’s The Right Oil for Skin, Yes?

Maybe…maybe not. Like so many substances (including honey and wine), when the market learns that a particular quality or certain characteristics fetch a higher price, some manufacturers take advantage and try to fake the desired quality or characteristics using other methods.
Some manufacturers pack and label RBD oils as “virgin coconut oil” for application on skin and/or as an ingredient for topical products. Being scentless and labeled “virgin” is not, therefore, a guarantee that you are actually getting virgin coconut oil.
On the other hand, some VCOs are heat-treated. Heat-treated VCO is, strictly speaking, still “virgin” but it does have a stronger smell. Therefore, a mild scent is not a guarantee either.
Furthermore, adulteration does occur, such as when other oils are mixed into coconut oil or virgin coconut oil to try to recreate the scentless cold-manual product without the costlier cold-manual processing. Because it is now more known that the mildest smell is one sign of no heat and less processing, and because of the higher price that this increasingly popular oil in its purest/least processed form fetches, there now are manufacturers who adulterate VCO with cheaper oils that are refined and have no smell (such as corn or soybean) to lessen the heated coconut oil’s inherent scent.
A better guarantee of purity is if the product is certified organic. The USDA and other country’s organic certifiers have clear regulations regarding organicity and manufacturers/farms are regularly, physically audited by the certifier.

How Hypoallergenic Is Coconut Oil?

A review of medical literature has yet to show reactions reported to organic, unheated, cold-and-first pressed virgin coconut oil.
There are some reports of reactions to RBD coconut oils and some coconut oils processed with allergens (such as with added flavoring or fragrance, or stored in vats with such allergens), but not to pure VCO.
Some reported reactions to RBD coconut oil may also be due to how the oil might be mixed or heated or otherwise processed or stored in vats which are also used for storing or mixing other oils that are allergenic (such as lavender) or other ingredients that are allergens (such as fragrance mixes).
VMV’s virgin coconut oil is certified-organic (important to confirm the absence of fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, additives, etc. used in inorganic farming methods), as well as cold-and-first-pressed (why there is no smell). It is prepared within hours of optimum age (the longer a coconut stays out in the sun and heat, the more important antioxidants and phytochemicals are lost, and the more lactones are released). It is pressed entirely manually, without centrifuge, heat or additives, and is stored in vats exclusively used by VMV. As we own the farm, oversee its organic certification, and control the unheated-manual processing, as well as its storage and transport, we can confirm that our VCO never comes into contact with allergens. One of our published studies on it was specifically on its use for atopic skin, and we have since received no reported reactions since its introduction.
 

REFERENCES

1. Santos JER, Villain BJ, Soza AR, Dayrit FM. Analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds in Virgin Coconut Oil and their Sensory Atrtibutes. December 2011. Philippine Journal of Science 140(2).
2. J. S. PaiS. S. Lomanno W. W. Nawar. Effect of heat treatments on the volatile composition of coconut oil. J Americ Oil Chemists’ Society April 1979, 56(4):494-497.

Skin

Allergy to Fragrance: Understanding Fragrance Additives and Choosing ProductsFeatured

by Rajani Katta, M.D.

What do you think of when you hear the word “fragrance”? Many of us think about perfume or cologne. If you’re allergic to fragrance, though, it doesn’t stop there.

If you’re allergic to fragrance, you should definitely avoid perfumes. But fragrance is found in MANY other products. In fact, the vast majority of personal care products sold in the United States contains some type of fragrance.

That means that you’ll need to be careful with all sorts of creams, lotions, cosmetics, hair care products, and other skin care products. In other words, you’ll need to be cautious with ALL of your skin care products. 

You’ll also need to read labels. And you’ll need to learn some basic facts about fragrance allergy, because this is a surprisingly complicated area. You can’t just choose a “fragrance-free” or “all-natural” product and be done with it. Fragrance, and fragrance allergy, are complicated. There are actually hundreds of different fragrance additives, and many of them are chemically related to one another.

Fragrance on a Label:

What It Means 

The word “fragrance” on a label can be very misleading. When you’re reading that one word, it sounds like it’s one ingredient. In fact, studies have shown that this one word can indicate the presence of 40 or more different ingredients. That one “fragrance” word on a label should really be “secret mixture of fragrance additives.” 

What is Fragrance?

The term “fragrance” refers to a group of substances. There are hundreds of different substances that can be categorized as fragrance additives. Many of these are all-natural substances, derived from plants. Others are synthetic chemicals. Since many of these ingredients are chemically related to each other, it’s common for patients to react to more than one. 

Labeling Terms Are Not Always Helpful

Even using products labeled “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may not help, as some of these can legally contain fragrance additives. In fact, a recent US study that looked at best-selling body moisturizers found that for products that claimed to be “fragrance free”, 45% of these products actually contained at least 1 fragrance cross-reactor or botanical ingredient. 

That’s why I DON’T just tell my patients to use products labeled as “fragrance-free”. Instead, I recommend a short list of products. These are products for which I’ve personally reviewed the entire ingredient list and can confirm that they are truly fragrance-free.

All-Natural Fragrances Are Just as Concerning

Many of my patients in recent years have turned to essential oils or all-natural products for their sensitive skin.  Some have turned to products that are labeled with the term “no synthetic fragrances”. This particular term may also not be helpful, though — even 100% natural fragrances frequently cause allergic reactions. 

This product advertises its natural ingredients…

 

…and (correctly) advertises that it contains no synthetic fragrances…

Hidden Fragrance Chemicals

It’s difficult, even if you’re reading labels carefully, to identify all fragrance additives. You should definitely avoid products with “fragrance” or “perfume” or “parfum” in the ingredient list. However, even preservatives such as benzyl alcohol, or moisturizing ingredients such as rose oil, can act as fragrance additives. These ingredients may even be legally used in products that are labeled “fragrance-free”. This post discusses this issue in more detail. 

Other Products That May Contain Fragrance

If you’re allergic to fragrance, you do need to be aware of other types of products and exposures. Be careful with household products, such as floor cleaners, room fresheners, aromatherapy products, and household cleansers. I’ve seen several reactions from essential oil diffusers, so be cautious. Even products worn by your spouse or children can cause problems if they come into contact with your skin.  

The natural fragrances in aromatherapy candles and essential oil diffusers can also trigger allergic reactions.

The Bottom Line

Fragrance allergy is a complex area, and fragrances can be challenging to avoid. Be careful with all skin care products, and ask your dermatologist for product recommendations that are truly fragrance-free.

Dr. Katta is the author of “Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet” and you can read more of her work in her blog.
 

Reposted with permission. We publish articles by doctors who wish to provide helpful information to their patients and the public at large, or who respond to our requests to use them as professional resources. Doctors may or may not prefer to remain anonymous and we respect this preference. These resource articles do not in any way imply an endorsement by the physician of VMVinSKIN.com or VMV HYPOALLERGENICS® — they are intended for informational purposes only. While written by or with resource professionals, these articles should not be relied on for diagnostic accuracy or applicability to your particular skin, which requires an in-person ocular consultation with a qualified physician and possibly additional diagnostic tests.
 


Dr. Rajani Katta  is a board-certified dermatologist and recognized expert in allergic contact dermatitis. She has a deep passion for developing well-researched and practical educational resources that help people take action. For at least 17 years, she was a member of the clinical faculty for both the Baylor College of Medicine and the McGovern Medical School. She also serves as a member of the Media Expert Team of the American Academy of Dermatology.

She is the author of numerous medical journal articles and seven published books on the link between skin and diet, as well as allergic reactions of the skin. Her latest book, Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet, provides an evidence-based and practical approach to eating for younger skin.

Dr. Katta is the recipient of multiple awards recognizing her commitment to excellence in patient care, teaching, and research. A few of these awards are the National Merit Scholar, American Medical Women’s Association Scholastic Achievement Award, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Women’s Dermatological Society Mentorship Grant.

She has also been part of the  Texas Super Doctors® list  since 2016. Follow Dr. Katta and find out about the “GLOW” diet when you read her posts on expert tips for health, skin and soul!

Allergen, Not An Allergen, Skin

CITRONELLA: Allergen or Not An Allergen?Featured

CITRONELLA: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen.

Citronella

Fragrance was the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS)’s Contact Allergen of the Year for 2007, and fragrance mix (which contains geraniol, which is in citronella oil) is a standard addition in patch test trays because it is such a common contact allergen. Often used as an a natural mosquito repellent option, citronella itself (a cousin of lemongrass) is listed in the latest lists of common allergens, cross reacts with geranium, and studies consistently show that it is not as effective as DEET.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

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.

References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59
2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009
3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.
4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97
5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.
6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.
7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.
8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 
9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.
10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.
11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.
13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99.

Allergen, Not An Allergen, Featured, Skin

FEVERFEW: Allergen or Not An Allergen?Featured

FEVERFEW: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen.

Chrysanthemum parthenium (Feverfew):

While a favorite ingredient of natural skincare buffs because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) is on published lists of common allergens as part of the Compositae (Asteraceae) group. Of particular concern in this group, and in feverfew, are the flowers, leaves, stems and pollen which contain sesquiterpene lactones.

If you patch-tested positive for feverfew, watch out for similar types of plants. It is likely that similar chemical structures in related plants could cause your immune system to react as well, and give you multiple contact allergies. People with a compositae allergy should also avoid fragrances and related substances like rosin and propolis.

The Compositae or Asteraceae group (Aster is “star” in Greek, and refers to the shape of the flowers) includes sunflowers, daisies and asters, and over 20,000 other herbs, flowers, vegetables, and plants. If feverfew is a suspect, your doctor might include it in your patch test as an individual extract or in a group.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

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

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.

References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59
2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009
3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.
4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97
5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.
6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.
7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.
8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 
9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.
10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.
11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.
13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99.

Allergen, Not An Allergen, Featured, Skin

MOSS: Allergen or Not An Allergen?Featured

MOSS: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen.

Moss:

That soothing color and deep scent is magical on walks in the woods, but moss (oak and tree, for example) is part of Fragrance Mix I, a common presence in published allergen lists.

Other ingredients that pal around with moss in Fragrance Mix I include cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamic alcohol, cinnamon and clove leaves, ylang ylang, nutmeg, geranium, rose, and lily of the valley. If Fragrance Mix I pops up on your patch test results, avoid moss and its friends and cross reactants.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, or suspect a sensitivity to fragrances, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59
2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009
3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.
4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97
5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.
6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.
7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.
8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 
9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.
10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.
11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.
13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99.

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.