Tag

natural

Skin

Hypoallergenic or Natural?Featured

Marcie Mom from EczemaBlues.com interviews Laura, CEO of VMV Hypoallergenics, to find out more about product claims and why they’re important when choosing your skin care…particularly if you or your child have eczema.

NATURAL = HYPOALLERGENIC?

Q: I don’t use products labelled ‘natural’ for my baby because my husband who has eczema finds that natural products sting his skin. I understand that natural ingredients do not necessarily mean not allergenic. 
A: As you pointed out, many natural ingredients are highly allergenic. Some examples are bees, shellfish, and peanuts in food, and the Compositae or Asteraceae group (includes sunflowers, daisies and asters, and over 20,000 other herbs, flowers, vegetables, and plants) or citruses in skincare. If you are allergic to a substance, no matter how natural or organic it is, you may need to avoid it.
Q: What are some natural ingredients that are considered hypoallergenic? 
A: We try to use organic natural ingredients as much as possible because we do want to use less processed ingredients and would like to be more responsible to the planet. But at VMV Hypoallergenics, our mandate is very strictly hypoallergenicity + clinical efficacy. So those are our filters. If a natural/organic ingredient meets these criteria (such as virgin coconut oil and green tea, which are both extremely well studied, with lots of published research, and not on allergen lists), then we will use them. If a natural/organic ingredient is an allergen, or is not proven to be effective, then we will not.
Q: Which natural ingredient tends to trigger allergies but yet commonly marketed as good for skin?
A: Tea tree oil is on published lists of common allergens, as are ylang-ylang, lavandula angustifolia oil (lavender oil), propolis (from honey), and most fragrances — no matter how fresh-from-the-earth-and-farmed-by-your-own-hands they are. These natural ingredients are considered allergenic and are commonly marketed as good for the skin.
All that said, please remember that we are all individuals. Many people can use ingredients that are allergens! Repeated exposure to these ingredients over time can lead to skin sensitivity and other problems later on (like hyperpigmentation or dark blotches) but still, for those who can tolerate these allergens, they could be pleasurable or beneficial. Brands that market these natural ingredients as good for the skin may not be misrepresenting. Vitamin E, for example, is a wonderful antioxidant. It is a published allergen, which is why we’ve reformulated many products to remove it, but it has ample evidence to support that it does, in fact, have many properties that are great for skin. This is why patch tests can be so helpful. Knowing exactly your particular allergens means you don’t need to avoid all allergens…just yours. And if you’re not allergic to your favorite natural ingredient, enjoy it!
And there are natural ingredients that are hypoallergenic. Organic virgin coconut oil, monolaurin (monoglyceride derivative), coconut water, green tea, and rice phytic acid are virtually non-allergenic. Note that olive oil often needs to be preserved because it is a mono-unsaturated oil (C18:1) versus coconut oil, mostly C8, C10, C12 and all with saturated carbon bonds. Coconut oil does not need to be preserved. The gallates preservative of olive oil have been reported to be allergens. Most other oils bought from the shelf are long chain polyunsaturated oils and often are also preserved or contain trans fats from partial hydrogenation and are no longer “natural”. There’s so much more information, of course, but the point is: hypoallergenic and natural are not the same thing. And for compromised, delicate skin conditions like eczema, “natural” may cause more harm than good.
Q: Why so much hype for “natural” products?
A: Great question and let’s break it down. “Natural” seems to have grown in popularity due to a few reasons. I think that these two are good reasons in and of themselves, and should lead to more good:
Reason 1: A growing desire to have safer products.
This might be attributed to the internet’s ability to make so much more information available so quickly, as well as a growing awareness of what we put in and on our bodies. With obesity an epidemic, we’ve also begun to take a closer look at the quality of foods we’re imbibing. One of the biggest concerns has been the amount of processed foods that we consume, for example, which I think has driven a desire to go back to less processed foods, organic foods, locally available foods, etc. There have also been a few scares in poorly regulated foods and cosmetics — products being contaminated by harmful ingredients, for example, or brands not disclosing what’s really in a product. The desire for safety seems to be a driver for the desire for “natural.”
Reason 2: Environmental Responsibility.
While climate change is unfortunately still an area of debate (it really isn’t), thankfully, many of us want to be more environmentally responsible.
These two main drivers, I would argue, are what are behind the “hype” of natural. Again, I think they’re great reasons, but unfortunately, natural ingredients just aren’t necessarily hypoallergenic (and frequently, they’re the opposite).
Q: Is there regulation governing the use of ‘naural’ and what percentage of the total ingredients must be natural before a product can label itself as such??
A: Another great question, and another reason why we don’t tend to look for “natural” ingredients. There is some confusion surrounding the term “natural.” First off, it is not yet regulated. Almost anything natural has to be processed in some way to be able to be used, so regulation eventually needs to be standardized to settle on what amount and what type of processing is allowed. There are certain brands that are spearheading this much-needed regulation, but for now, it’s still pretty ambiguous.
“Organic” is strictly regulated by certifying bodies that physically audit organic farms or manufacturing facilities. Rules are also clear about when a product an claim “certified organic.” “Hypoallergenic” is regulated in many countries’ FDAs (but not all).
In a nutshell, I’d say: if you have a sensitive skin condition, start with a patch test so you know exactly what you need to avoid. If you cannot yet get a patch test, look for products that are hypoallergenic over “natural.”
 


This article was originally published in eczemablues.com as one of a multi-part series focused on understanding and using products for sensitive skinInspired by her daughter Marcie who had eczema from two weeks old, Mei (aka MarcieMom) started EczemaBlues.com with the mission to turn eczema blues to bliss. In this series of interviews, MarcieMom interviews Laura, CEO of VMV Hypoallergenics, to learn more about product claims when choosing products to care for skin with eczema.

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!

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.

Allergen, Not An Allergen, Featured, Skin

LAVENDER: Allergen or Not An Allergen?Featured

LAVENDER: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen.

Lavender

A beautiful, gorgeous-smelling, and soothing herb used for centuries, lavender is on published common allergen lists. Eating lavender does not seem to be an issue, but lavender in topically-applied products such as creams, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, essential oils and the like should be avoided if you have a history of sensitive skin, or if you patch tested positive to lavender.

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.

Featured, Skin

Choose Hypoallergenic Over Natural: 30-Day Healthy Skin ChallengeFeatured

Some things in nature can hurt you.

Natural ingredients could be causing or worsening your acne, sensitive skin, psoriasis, eczema, or hyperpigmentations.
While natural is WONDERFUL — eating natural, less processed foods so important for your health and using skin care with more natural, less processed ingredients can also be good (chemicals used in processing can be even more allergenic than the ingredient itself), natural does not mean hypoallergenic…and many natural ingredients are common allergens.
To learn more about what hypoallergenic means and how it can help several skin problems, check out Hypoallergenic: What Is It Really?
To learn more about the difference between hypoallergenic and natural, check out Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn’t)

Allergen, Not An Allergen, Featured, Skin

What Sensitive Skin Should Avoid: Can You Spot The Allergen In This Picture?Featured

What Sensitive Skin Should Avoid: Can You Spot The Allergen In This Picture?

Got sensitive skin? What in this picture should you be wary of? If you guessed the chemicals on the piece of paper on the left, you’d be wrong.

Everything in the photo above is a common allergen:

  1. The chemicals on the paper on the left (more on these below);
  2. The organic sprigs of lavender (top right);
  3. Mint (bottom right);
  4. Tree trunk (propolis — from beeswax — which can be present in the resin and the bark); and
  5. The grass (because of common insecticide ingredients or, even if completely wild, because of the pollens that fall on it from surrounding plants and flowers).

Bonus point: if you also said the adhesive tape on the edges of the paper on the left, you’re a rockstar skintellectual!

Natural is good for you, right?

Yes! Natural and organic things are SOOOO good for you on so many levels. Eating antioxidants in fresh fruit and vegetables is far better than taking nutritional supplements. Less processed foods means less added chemicals and allergens, many of which your body cannot process normally.

But natural does not mean hypoallergenic.

Many natural substances (like those above) are allergenic.

Should those with sensitive skin avoid natural or organic ingredients?

Not necessarily. Just because something is an allergen (an ingredient known to cause allergies) does not automatically mean you cannot use it…even if you have sensitive skin.  Instead of random trial and error (which can be expensive and painful), ask your doctor about a patch test. This painless test can tell you exactly which allergens you need to avoid. Armed with accurate information, you can enjoy the goodness of natural foods and ingredients that you know you’re not allergic to.
Want to know what the thing on the left is? Those are Finn Chambers, which are aluminum pans on a paper that is then stuck on your back in a patch test. Similar to a prick test for food allergies, patch tests help identify which allergens (natural or not) you in particular are sensitive to. Thinking about getting one? Check out CC’s own patch test experience now.
To learn more about the difference between natural and hypoallergenic, check out Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn’t) or browse through Skintelligencenter.com.

Featured, Healthy Living, Skin

Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn't)Featured

Is Natural Hypoallergenic?

The short answer is: no.

And that really shouldn’t be surprising. Think of how many allergy medication commercials you see when it’s pollen season.
But does this mean natural is bad? Absolutely not! Eating natural, less processed foods is a must for your health. Using skin care with more natural, less processed ingredients is also a good idea (chemicals used in processing can be even more allergenic than the ingredient itself). But in both cases, natural does not mean hypoallergenic.
Allergens-Peanuts-LVB-15Sep2015-IMG_0807-20150915
Hypoallergenic means less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Many natural substances, no matter how organic, are top allergens (substances known to cause allergic reactions). While food, dander, pollen and skin allergies operate differently (so differently that if you prick test positive to a substance the chances are that you can use it on your skin), the same logic applies: if you prick test positive to peanuts, dander or pollen, you would avoid eating them, no matter how natural or organic they are. If you patch test positive to lavender, citruses, and mint, you should avoid touching or using them, no matter how natural or organic they are.
If you haven’t yet had a patch test and you have sensitive skin or a history of reacting to skincare products, choosing products with natural ingredients could be making things worse. Many natural substances — such as tea tree oil, orange, fragrances, ylang-ylang, and eucalyptus — are top common allergens.
Allergens-TeeTreeOil-LVB-15Sep2015-IMG_0807-20150915
That said, it helps to know what you, in particular, are sensitive to. Just because something is an allergen doesn’t mean it’s one of your allergens. For example, nuts, lemons and shrimp are allergens but if you haven’t prick tested positive to them, you shouldn’t avoid them (in fact, they’re very healthy foods). Vitamin E and tea tree oil are top skin allergens but great ingredients. If you have not patch tested positive for them, you might still be able to enjoy their benefits.
Allergens-Mango-LVB-15Sep2015-IMG_0807-20150915
Avoid trial and error, which is highly unreliable. To find out your allergens, get a patch test.
Allergens-Flower-LVB-15Sep2015-IMG_0807-20150915
If your patch test shows you are sensitive to certain ingredients, natural or not, avoid them.
If you haven’t yet had a patch test but have sensitive skin, you’re better off choosing hypoallergenic over “natural” to prevent flare-ups, rashes, irritations and even acne, dark spots (many allergens are also photo-allergens, which react with light to cause hyperpigmentations), and chronic dryness.
On a final note: “natural” is not a regulated term so it could, theoretically, mean anything. “Organic” is well regulated but check for the official seals of the certifying authorities. “Hypoallergenic” is regulated in most markets, but not all, and standards differ. For more on the differences between “natural,” “organic” and “hypoallergenic,” check out Hypoallergenic or Natural? and watch this video in our YouTube channel.
Allergens-Shrimp-LVB-15Sep2015-IMG_0807-20150915
IMPORTANT: Food allergies and skin allergies operate differently.

Need Help?

VMV Hypoallergenics® formulations contain none, or as close to none, of all of the 109 most common allergens (based on over 25,000 patch test results). Our VH-Rating System (the first and still the only sensitive skin “grading system”) shows you at first glance how many allergens are not in a formulation…or, if there is an allergen present, which one (if it’s not one of your allergens, you can use the product with confidence). It’s so effective, a published clinical study in a leading contact dermatitis journal shows less than 0.1% reactions reported in over 30 years.
To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, or for more privacy (such as when asking us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results) contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.