The Ingredient Chronicles: Retinol

retinol skin care ingredientOne of the ingredients I love in my personal routine is retinol. It is always present. I recommend it for many different skin concerns. Let’s take a deeper look and see what it does.

Retinol and Retin-A, or the class of ingredients called retinoids or retinoic acid, are Vitamin A derivatives. These ingredients work primarily as exfoliants. They are special because they exfoliate the surface of the skin as well as the interior of the pore, unlike salicylic acid, which works just in the pore or glycolic, which works mostly on the surface. Because of the way they exfoliate, they are especially good at getting rid of deep clogs and textural acne.

Retinol is the over-the-counter version of retinoic acid. Retin-A is the prescription form of retinoic acid. However, don’t take this to mean that Retin-A is better than retinol. Some skin types may find that they can tolerate the lower doses in an OTC retinol product.

Retinoids have many benefits aside from just their amazing pore-cleaning abilities. Retinoids are the only FDA-approved anti-aging ingredient. It was being studied for acne prevention when people started noticing that their wrinkles were going away. When you have damage to the skin, the skin responds by creating scar tissue. Scar tissue is essentially collagen that has grown back irregularly, like you see in wrinkles or in acne scars. Healthy collagen is spiraled like a slinky, and it lines up in straight lines. Damaged collagen has grown back over- or under-spiraled, and it starts to bundle together and collapse on itself. Retinoids work on these irregularities by breaking down the damaged collagen and encouraging the growth of healthy, properly spiraled, perfectly aligned collagen. So retinoids are great for decreasing the depth of wrinkle and repairing acne scars.

Retinoids also help to control melanin production, which makes them great to repair the uneven pigmentation that many people see after years in the sun. For acne sufferers, especially those with deeper complexions (think: olive skin tones and deeper), it can fade the marks that remain long after blemishes have healed.

But here come the cautions. Retin-A is aggressive. Many people experience flaking, redness, and sensitivities while they are using it. Retinol (the OTC version) may be easier to tolerate for these skin types. It takes longer to see results than the prescription strength products, but avoiding the adverse side effects may be worth it.  Retinoids are also contraindicated for waxing, since it sensitizes and may cause lifting of the skin (read: a big patch of no skin… not the brow look you were going for!) Retinoids are absolutely contraindicated for pregnancy.

Retinol should always be used as part of your nighttime routine. It can cause photosensitivity, so you need to be diligent about applying a sunscreen every day (even if you get minimal sun exposure). Dermatologists usually recommend using the product every day, but more sensitive types might not tolerate that much. Stop using your retinoids if you’re going on a big beach vacation or if you’re planning on getting or have just gotten a deep chemical peel.

I really believe that everyone can find a retinoid that works for them, but you may need to try some variations to your routine or the way you use the product to minimize the adverse side effects. Here are some tips for dealing with the irritation that retinoids may sometimes cause.

  • Try using it less frequently. Try it twice a week, and slowly work your way up to more frequent usage. Once you start to see the results you want, you may want to dial your usage back again.
  • Apply a light moisturizer before the prescription. The moisturizer will act as a buffer between your skin and the prescription, slowing down the absorption. That can actually make a huge difference in the level of irritation.
  • Use a gentle enzyme mask to dissolve away the flakiness. This will help you control your urge to pick and keep your skin hydrated and smooth.
  • Try a soothing hydrating mask. Dry skin types can definitely use this help. Even acne prone skin types need this boost. Masking more frequently can help to give your skin that extra hydration and soothing that it needs.

Retinol and Retin-A are my hero ingredients. You can’t beat the multiple benefits that you get from one product. But it is an ingredient where less is definitely more, so find the balance your skin needs.

 

 

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Top Picks for Sunscreens

best sunscreen skin care product recommendationSummer brings heat waves, watermelon, and fun in the sun. It also brings a lot of questions about sunscreens. I’ve talked about how to pick a sunscreen. Today, I’m sharing some of my top picks with you.

When I look for a sunscreen, I look first for a mineral filter. I prefer physical blocks like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for several reasons. Mineral sunscreens protect your skin from UV damage, and they are also anti-inflammatory. Zinc oxide is the primary ingredient in diaper cream; it’s known to reduce redness and soothe irritation. Mineral sunscreens are also less likely to cause reactions, so I always recommend them for my sensitive or allergic clients. Mineral sunscreens have a tendency to be thicker, so I know that an oily skin type is going to want a lighter texture. Sometimes you’ll need to go a chemical filter in this case. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!

True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30My first pick is the True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. I’ve linked to the one for baby, but there are several available. I stumbled onto this one at the drugstore one day, and I’ve recommended it ever since. It has a pure mineral sunscreen, and the rest of the ingredients are a blend of truly natural ingredients. It’s moisturizing enough to be an all-in-one product.

Who will love it: Dry skin types, natural skin types, sensitive skin types

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40

 

The Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 is a classic bestseller, and for good reason. It is super lightweight, but still a 100% mineral sunscreen. It absorbs quickly and can be used over any daytime product, from serums to moisturizers. Clarins claims to be a botanically based line, and that bothers me because they really aren’t. But if you’re looking for a lightweight sunscreen, this does the trick.

Who will love it: Oily skin types, people who want lightweight textures

 

bareMinerals SPF 30I mentioned this one in my summer essentials post, but I’m bringing it up again because I just like it that much. My favorite sunscreen touch-up product is the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. Sunscreens are only effective when used properly, and proper use means regular reapplication. This is a great way to touch up your sunscreen and mattify oiliness without budging your makeup. The brush is softer than most of the other powder sunscreens on the market, so it’s much nicer for sensitive skin.

Who will love it: Makeup wearers who want to reapply, oily skin types

Boscia BB Cream

I really love my BB cream. I’ve been using the Boscia B.B. Cream that features an SPF 27 in a mineral filter. It’s got a tint to it, so you get coverage and complexion evening all in the same step. It also has treatment benefits; it has licorice root extract and arbutin to help with pigmentation. It also has ingredients that act as a skin primer, so it smooths texture and fine lines. I wear mine almost every day. It’s lightly hydrating, but dry skin types will still want to use  a moisturizer.

Who will love it: Girls on the go who still want to look polished

Do you have a favorite sunscreen? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

 

See a product here that you think would work for you? I earn a commission and you help to support this blog if you use the affiliate links provided. But your trust is important to me, and I’d never recommend something that I haven’t used or didn’t like. Read my disclaimer.

What Kind of Acne Do You Have?

Do you have acne? I was traumatized when I was diagnosed with acne in college; it felt like the end of the world. I didn’t think my skin was “bad enough” to be called acne, yet there I was in the dermatologist’s office complaining of breakouts I couldn’t control. Now that I work in skin care, I simply see the word as a way to define how often someone breaks out. If you’re breaking out several times a month, or you have more than a couple of breakouts at a time, I consider that acne.

But do you know that there are kinds of acne that don’t break out? The tricky part about acne comes in when someone isn’t having breakouts, but they have what I call textural acne, or bumpy acne. Often, these little bumps don’t come to a head and pop, the way a normal pimple might. Nevertheless, I still consider this acne, even if my client doesn’t.

Let’s look at the kinds of acne that you can get.

Pustular Acne  acne

This is the more inflammatory, infected acne. This acne will generally come up as a localized bump and turn red. It will eventually develop a white head, pop, and then start to heal. This kind of acne is generally cause by a bacterial infection in the skin, and is treated with topical antibiotics.

 

acneTextural Acne

This acne you can feel. Some bumps may be large enough to see. The bumps are either milia, or bumps that are under the surface and don’t go anywhere, or blackheads. Textural acne needs to be addressed because it is often a precursor to pustular acne. It is best treated with retinol.

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is the one that hurts. These bumps show up under the skin. They can cause soreness and will often hang around for a long period of time, sometimes even weeks. They often don’t come to a head. Do not try to pop these! Chronic cystic acne will probably require a trip to see the dermatologist, as the infection is deeper than just the surface of the skin.

A Combination of Several Kinds

Most people with severe acne have both textural and pustular acne happening at the same time. The problem is that bumpy acne can become pustular acne easily, since bumpy acne is a prime environment for bacteria, which will inevitably become a pimple.

Each form of acne needs to be treated in a specific way. Pustular acne needs to be treated in a way that kills bacteria, usually with benzoyl peroxide or clindamycin. Textural acne generally requires something to unclog pores, like salicylic acid or retinol. Cystic acne is very difficult to treat topically, but you may find relief if you apply ice to reduce inflammation and numb soreness.

I like to focus my treatment efforts on textural acne first. This takes longer and requires more patience, but if you can unclog the skin, you ultimately will prevent pustular acne by eliminating the environment that produces the pustular acne in the first place.

It’s hard to treat multiple kinds of acne at once, unless your skin is super durable or oily. Acne treatments can be incredibly drying, and using a combination of several products can lead to inflammation, flakiness, and irritation. You may find that juggling your acne treatments with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer provides enough balance. Or maybe you’ll need to use one treatment on one day and another on another day. You’ll need to find the balance that is right for you. Check with your doctor for options if you’re using prescriptions and having trouble.

 

 

 

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Behind the Buzz

marketing buzzwords for skin careThe buzz in the beauty industry can completely overwhelming these days. Every product screams at you from the shelves. So how do you know what is just beauty buzz and what you should be buying into?

Natural

So many brands are claiming to be natural, but unfortunately, there is absolutely no regulatory body that oversees this claim. Any line with botanical extracts can claim to be natural these days. It’s up to you to decide what you consider to be natural. Do you mean preservative free? Free of synthetic fragrance? Free of synthetic ingredients all together? When I look for a natural product, I look for the majority of the ingredients to be botanically derived and for a product that is free of synthetic dyes, perfumes, and preservatives.

Oil Free

Oil-free is just what it says- free of all oils, even botanical oils. Oil-free is best for super oily skin types. But ultimately you should be shopping by texture. Super oily skins need light weight lotions. Combination skin types can use more medium-weight lotions or creams, depending on the time of year. Dry skins can comfortably use a heavier cream. Even acne-prone skins can benefit from some oils, since not all acne occurs on super oily skin. I generally recommend avoiding mineral oils, which can lead to clogging. Botanical oils are healthy for many skin types and don’t necessarily need to be avoided.

Fragrance Free

This is one of the most confusing aspects of beauty products. Technically this means that there are no synthetic fragrances added to the product. It’s helpful if you are one of the many people who are allergic to synthetic perfumes. This may not mean that the product smells like nothing. Every ingredient in the product has a natural scent to it, so the final product will smell like the blend of those ingredients. Some products that don’t use additional fragrance can smell medicinal or unpleasant in some way (does anyone else remember the Perricone products circa 2006? Phew!). Here’s where it gets super tricky. Many products that smell like nothing have actually added a masking fragrance to neutralize an otherwise unpleasant smell, and that product can still be labeled fragrance free. So check your ingredients well if fragrance is a concern for you. In natural products, it can be even more complicated. If a company uses a certain number of essential oils, they must label it as fragrance on the ingredient list even if the essential oils are used for therapeutic benefits. It’s a lot to take in, and again there are not many regulations for this term and how it’s used. In this case, I ignore the packaging and use my nose. If it smells like a bottle of perfume, I skip the product. If the product is botanically based, I check the ingredients and see if they have essential oils listed.

Follow me on Twitter where I tweet about the buzz words I see under the hashtag #beautybuzz. And leave me a note in the comments about any beauty buzz you’d like me to decipher.

 

 

Speak your mind! What beauty buzz do you hear? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Are You Missing Out?

anti agin skin careSomeone asked me a great question today. She was concerned that treating her rosacea was getting in the way of treating her fine lines and wrinkles. When I tell people to target their concerns, I mean that you need to address what you’d like to change about your skin, but what I really mean is that you need to treat what is actually happening with your skin.

First, let’s take a broad view of how the skin ages. It’s more complicated than skin care companies make it seem. We’ll keep it simple for this purpose. Skin cells divide in the base layer and rise to the surface, flattening and essentially dying as they go. We exfoliate the top layers off, which sends a message to the bottom layers to divide more often. As we age, the DNA of these cells starts to become damaged, and the skin cells replicate the damaged DNA. The key to anti-aging comes in when we look at the reasons why the DNA becomes damaged in the first the place. And the answer to this question is inflammation.

Inflammation is one of those words that we hear all the time. Famous doctors like Dr. Perricone, Dr. Weil, and Dr. Oz talk about it all the time. But it’s a word that gets thrown around so much that most of us don’t think about it much more. Something claims to be anti-inflammatory, and it sounds great. If inflammation is bad, obviously anti-inflammatories are good. But if we think about it for a second, just in relation to the skin, inflammation prevents the cells from replicating the way they are supposed to. Take this one step further, and we see that long-term, inflammation can lead to lots of damaged DNA replicating itself over and over. Chronic, systemic inflammation is the root of almost all aging.

My theory is always that taking care of your skin the way it needs to be taken care of is always the best anti-aging. Skin issues such as rosacea, eczema, and acne are all the result of inflammation. So if inflammation causes aging, reducing inflammation is itself anti-aging. Maintaining skin health is the best way to prevent wrinkles because you allow the skin to heal and protect itself.

 

Natural Skin Care, Naturally Better?

natural organic skin care, sensitive skin care With the surge of interest in organic food, there has also been more interest in organic and natural skin care. But many healthy foods have a health halo; they appear healthy, but they aren’t any better than regular junk food. Skin care products can hide behind the same guise. Like those foods, natural skin care products may not always be the best choice for you.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is better for sensitive skin.

Botanicals can often be more stimulating. Highly concentrated essential oils can overstimulate reactive skins. Ingredients can vary from batch to batch as seasons and farming conditions change. Some reactive skin types can’t handle these changes; they need more consistency.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is not as harsh.

Salicylic acid is derived from the botanical willow bark. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar. Apricot scrubs are completely natural and still incredibly aggressive. Sometimes, your sensitive skin can tolerate a natural form of an ingredient better. Sometimes it can’t tolerate an ingredient in any form. You may just have to experiment.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is less likely to cause allergic reactions.

You can be allergic to any ingredient, even natural ones. Poison ivy is completely natural and sometimes even organic, but you still don’t want to rub it on your face. Additionally, highly allergic skin types may find that the long lists of active ingredients make it difficult to narrow down specific ingredient reactions. They may find a simple list easier to navigate.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is more effective.

Natural skin care products can be incredibly effective. So can clinical skin care ingredients. It just depends on the condition of your skin and the results you desire. Some skin concerns, like acne, can respond well to natural ingredients like willow bark or tea tree oil. More persistent acne may need prescriptions like Retin-A or clindamycin. Your need changes just like your health. You may be able to avoid catching the flu by eating leafy greens and sleeping well, but once you’re sick, you might really need some Nyquil.

Health Halo: Natural skin care products are better for pregnancy.

Essential oils abound in natural skin care products, and they may be too stimulating for the sensitivities that can sometimes arise with pregnancy. There are also differing opinions on what essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy. As a rule, I advise women to avoid hydroquinone, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide. Defer to your doctor for any other ingredients.

I really love natural skin care products. I love the light fragrance of the essential oils, the lack of synthetic preservatives and fillers. In fact, I prefer many natural ingredients. But I love the results I get with clinical products, and my skin also looks its best when I mix in ingredients like retinoids. Don’t choose natural skin care over clinical simply for the health halo. [Tweet this!] The best part about the skin care business is that you have plenty of options. What do you choose?

 

 

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Patch Up Your Allergies

Skin allergiesOver dinner with a friend this week, our chitchat segued into a conversation about her skin. She complained to me about her sensitive skin and frequent rashes. Then she said something that struck me…the doctor said she wasn’t allergic to anything. I told her that she was clearly allergic to something, but she argued with me, saying that all her tests were negative. I explained to her that allergy patch testing can be helpful, but that it often turns up negative results even though you might still have allergies.

A woman gets skin allergy patch test for contact dermatitis at the dermatologist
Patch Testing

The process can be tedious, taking several days of doctor’s visits.  You’ll have your first appointment on a Monday or Tuesday. At this appointment, they will place small amounts of common allergens on your skin and cover them with sticky patches. They will do this until the majority of the skin on your back is covered, generally testing for 30-100 of the most common allergens, everything from common fragrance ingredients to preservatives to medications. You will return to the office to have the patches read 24-72 hours later, and possibly even another 24 hours after that, depending on the results of the first reading. You cannot get the patches wet during this time, making it difficult (though not impossible) to shower or work out. You may also develop rashes on your back that can cause discomfort and itching.

If you and your doctor have decided to proceed with patch testing, make sure you understand what your results mean. So remember that the test only checks a limited number of the most common allergens. The good news is that you’ve narrowed the field of possibilities that are likely to cause problems. The bad news is that you still come in contact with thousands of other ingredients to which you could be allergic. Also remember that it checks for common allergens, not common ingredients. This means that if you’re allergic to an ingredient that is in a lot of products, but you’re the only one allergic to it, this test may not give you all the information you need. You may find out that you are allergic to some ingredients, but you may still have more allergies to other ingredients not covered in the test. Finally, I have had many clients who were allergic to something on just one part of their face, like lips or even just around the eyes. Facial skin is typically thinner and more reactive, so testing for something on your back may not necessarily uncover all allergies. If you figure out that something irritates the skin on your face, I would avoid all contact with it no matter what.

I feel like patch testing is a great way to gather information, but it’s important to understand what you’re testing for and why it may not always work. The more you know about your allergies and what your skin can tolerate, the better you will be able to find skin care that works for you. But remember that it is often only one of the many methods that you may need to use in order to isolate your allergies. Be sure to consult your dermatologist if you are having chronic problems with contact dermatitis. A patch test may be the perfect place to start your search, and your doctor can guide you.

More questions about allergies and patch testing? Email me questions or leave a comment below!

Just the FAQs: Do I Have Sensitive Skin?

I can say honestly that the most frequent concern I hear about skin is sensitivity. When I ask about skin conditions, most people describe their skin as very sensitive. But this description is vague because skin can be sensitive in a A woman with bandages protects her sensitive skinvariety of ways. It is important that you are clear about how your skin is sensitive when picking out products for your routine.

  • Skin that is prone to allergies. This is typically my definition for sensitive skin. You have used many products in the past, and they have frequently caused redness, burning, itching, stinging, or flaking. This is usually indicative of an allergy. Try to figure out if the products had something in common. Were they all acne products? Did they have synthetic fragrances or dyes? Finding the root of the allergy is helpful here, as you will learn what to avoid in the future.
  • Skin that is prone to redness. Skin that is easily reddened is challenging to treat. There are many factors that can cause redness. Do you get red when you work out? When you touch your skin? If you wax or tweeze your brows? When you apply product? If you get red from heat or touch, treat your skin with anti-inflammatories like vitamin C to calm it. If you get red when you apply product, take a look at your products and check that you aren’t misusing an exfoliant or that you don’t have an allergy. You may also want to check with your doctor for other factors, such as rosacea.
  • Skin that is prone to breakouts. Breakouts are frustrating and often persistent, but they do not necessarily indicate an allergy. Unless you are also prone to redness, stinging, or allergies, I generally describe this skin as acne-prone, not sensitive. Try treating your skin with an acne control serum and avoid heavy moisturizers.
  • Skin that has been sensitized. This is self-inflicted sensitivity. It is typically sudden and temporary. It is often caused by prescription products or overuse of aggressive exfoliants. If your skin is suddenly flaking or stinging, first take a look at your routine. Are you using a new prescription? Even oral medications can cause skin sensitivity. In the case of a prescription, check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if it is a common side effect. Have you added a new products to your routine?  Check the active ingredients. Are you overusing glycolic, salicylic acid or retinol? Try using that product less and see how your skin does.

Skin sensitivities are complicated and are not often solved by simply purchasing a product targeted to sensitive skin. Unfortunately many of the products that have a label claiming that they are safe for sensitive skin still have lots of common irritants in them. In fact, I have never heard a brand claim that they were not good for sensitive skin! So it is vitally important that you figure out what triggers your skin and pick your products accordingly. Only you can be sure what will and will not cause trouble!

 

 

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The Usual Suspects

 Adverse reactions to skincare products can be exceedingly difficult to narrow down. But if your skin is burning or itching, it will be worth the effort to try. There are many ingredients that are typically known to cause allergic reactions (hives, rashes, burning, and flaking). You can make your investigation much easier if you begin your search by eliminating the usual suspects in an allergic reaction.

The Usual Suspect: Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens, like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone, neutralize UV rays in the skin, as opposed to deflecting the rays away from the skin on the surface. Many more reactive skin types can’t handle this level of stimulation and will develop a rash or break out. It is important to note: people are usually only allergic or reactive to one particular sunscreen. This does not give you a free pass to skip sunscreen. Try to narrow down which sunscreen is the problem and avoid it. Or, skip chemical sunscreens all together and use a mineral sunscreen like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

The Usual Suspect: Synthetic Fragrance

I hate to break this to you, but if your cream smells like nothing, it probably has a fragrance in it. Creams without any fragrance don’t generally smell great, but they are significantly less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Ingredients to look for are perfume, parfum, or fragrance. In natural products, look for derivatives or essential oils like linalool, limonene, geraniol, or citronellol. It’s also important to note that a certain amount of essential oils must be listed as fragrance, so it can often be difficult to tell just from reading the ingredients. You may not be able to tolerate synthetic fragrance, but a light natural fragrance may be okay. This really depends on your skin, so find out what works for you. I personally can’t stand a heavy perfume in a cream, but I’m a sucker for the natural fragrance and additional benefits of essential oils.

The Usual Suspect: Artificial Colors and Dyes

In skin care, I find these ingredients to be wholly unnecessary. Additionally, they are common irritants and easy to eliminate. I don’t generally recommend anything with artificial colors. The most common allergies are red dye allergies, so unfortunately, you may want to also look at your cosmetics for this suspect. Remember, though, that anyone can be allergic to any color. Start by eliminating red dyes and check the ingredients list for Red Dye #40 (or other numbers), FD&C Red #40, or even ingredients like carmine. It is also interesting to note that ingesting red dye (through food, drinks, candy, etc.) can also cause adverse reactions on the skin.

The Usual Suspect: Essential Oils

This is one of those categories that is very specific to the person. Essential oils are bioactive and may overstimulating to  some sensitive or reactive skins. It is one of those situations where natural may not necessarily be better. Also keep in mind that essential oils can cause photosensitivity, so using them in the sun can exacerbate another problem. These ingredients are usually found towards the bottom of the list, so look for any ingredient with extract or oil in the name. You may be able to tolerate some essential oils and not others, so this particular suspect may require some additional experimentation or research.

Dealing with allergies can be tedious and frustrating, but try not to lose hope. Product shopping becomes significantly easier when you know what to avoid. I have skin allergies that have taken me years to figure out, and I can say from experience that life (and my skin!) is better now that I know. Feel free to contact me if you need support or help, or leave me a comment on this post.

 

Esthetician, P.I.

I visited my sister in Miami last week, and, as usual, having an esthetician around brought up lots of skincare questions. She’s been getting a lot of irritation on her face and chest, and now it’s up to me to figure out what is causing all of it. I think I’ve cracked this case already, and I did it by using my super sleuthing method to find the culprit.

First, I start by asking a lot of questions. When did the problem start? Any new products added about that time? Changes in diet? New medications? In this case, I noticed the irritation popped up after a day on the beach. My major clue here? Environmental factors! This particular reaction is definitely being aggravated by the heat.

Next, I start looking at the products that she’s using. Her routine is pretty simple, and she’s been shopping natural brands at the drugstore to save money. I eventually compare all of the ingredients in her products and try to find the common ones, but I start by looking for my usual suspects in the products she uses the most. She’s using a sunscreen when she goes to the beach (like a good sister of an esthetician), and I notice that the product she used that day has five different chemical sunscreens in it. Chemical sunscreens aren’t necessarily bad, but I find that many people cannot tolerate them. I also see that she’s using another sunscreen with lavender essential oil in it. Since I know that essential oils can cause photosensitivity, I think I may have just hit on the trifecta.

Her routine is fairly simple, so I feel confident that I have figured out the problem. She’s allergic to a specific chemical sunscreen (the common sunscreen in her two products), and the hot, beachy weather combined with the essential oils are compounding her adverse reactions. I put her on the simplest routine possible (exposing the skin to the fewest ingredients possible). She had grapeseed oil and pure aloe on hand, so she can use those for at least two weeks to see if her skin clears up. If it does, we’ve found our perp. If it doesn’t, then I have to continue on with other suspects, like food allergies or medications. After two weeks, and if her skin isn’t breaking out in rashes, we’ll start her on a new sunscreen with a mineral filter instead.

Hopefully, this will close the case on the mystery reaction quickly, but it’s important to remember that even if this is the solution, sometimes the healing process can take a while. Tackling allergies and reactions can be frustrating, so don’t give up. Partnering with a dermatologist or other skin professional can often help, and if redness, hives, or itchiness persist, you should definitely seek one out.

 

 

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