Today 27% of Europe’s adult population have skin allergy, and it is a growing problem. This is such a shame for two reasons; first of all because skin allergy is a chronic disease, which means there is no cure, you will just have to live with it. Secondly skin allergy is easily prevented, by avoiding allergenic ingredients.
Skin allergy development is environmental, which means it depends on what your skin is in direct contact with and how often this contact occurs. More accurately the ingredient’s allergenic potential, its concentration and the frequency of exposure all have an impact on your risk of developing skin allergy.
Allergic reactions can vary from mild irritation and redness to itching, eczema and wounds, and they occur approximately 24-48 hours after contact with the given substance. That is why it is difficult to establish whether it actually is skin allergy, which product and moreover what substance your skin is reacting towards.
The big sinners
In the past, we have referred to perfume allergy as an old woman’s disease. In recent years, it is however both sexes and all ages, even 4 year olds, who have become allergic to perfume.
Besides the fact that we today hardly can apply anything on to our body without there is perfume in it whether it being diapers, mascara or deodorant – We also see a more common trend of skincare and cosmetics with ‘natural’ ingredients, such as natural perfume or essential oils as they are also called. And these can have contributed to the increase of perfume allergy.
The EU appointed 26 fragrance substances to be mandatory declared when present in cosmetic products because of their high allergenic potential. 19 of the 26 substances may originate from nature. The “Natural is good”-mantra is therefore not always in its right. Nonetheless, AllergyCertified does not certify products with natural or synthetic perfumes.
Methylisothiazolinone (MI) is a highly allergenic preservative. It is used to prevent bacterial growth in a variety of products, for example, cosmetics, water-based paints, detergents and glue.
Due to its particular allergenic potential, the EU has banned the use of MI in cosmetic leave-on products since February 12, 2017. The EU still allows MI in cosmetic rinse-off products such as shampoo, hand soap and face wash. This unfortunately means that consumers should make sure they do not have old leave-on products at home and that there is no MI in when they buy new rinse-off products. Additionally, MI can unfortunately hide in products’ raw materials, which the consumer cannot determine by looking at the product’s INCI list.
At AllergyCertified we have zero tolerance regarding MI – not as an ingredient, as a raw material nor depending product type.
Nickel is also a common skin allergy. It can be found in a lot of make-up like mascara and powder. Nickel is not an additive, but it is found naturally in iron oxide, which is in certain dyes like red and black. If you have first developed nickel allergy, you react to very small concentrations, therefore AllergyCertified requires a test of products using the dyes to ensure that the concentration of nickel is not more than 1ppm (part per million). This limit is chosen since people with nickel allergy do not react to products containing less than 1ppm nickel.
Parabens are the name of category of substances used as preservatives. Parabens are good in regards to allergy, as they have not shown any allergic potential. However, some parabens (Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben and Isobutylparaben) are suspected to have hormone-disrupting effects. These parabens are not accepted in products to be certified by AllergyCertified.
But, unfortunately, the industry has issued a harsh verdict on the category instead of the substances at issue when they write “No Parabens” on their products. As mentioned above, parabens are just an category, some of which are suspected of hormone disturbances, yes – but this does not apply to Ethylparaben and Methylparaben. These do not have allergic potential and are not suspected of being hormone-disrupting. They are nonetheless rarely applied in products today, which is unfortunate because it only makes it more difficult to develop and produce good products.
For these reasons, AllergyCertified’s criteria allow the Ethylparaben and Methylparaben in certified products.
You can read more about our criteria or go into the depths of the individual substance by reading our articles, where we scientifically address disputed substances every month. If you have questions feel free to contact Ewa Daniél at email@example.com