When you hear “organic” what do you think? Chemical-free and preservative-free might be 2 things that come to mind. What certainly does not come to mind is “allergy”.
However, “allergic” is what I now think after a recent bad experience.
I don’t have sensitive skin – at least I did not think so. I don’t break out all that easily but I’ve discovered that the skin on my hands might actually be more sensitive than the skin on my face.
I had a bad reaction on my hands which got worse over the Chinese New Year break. The skin on my hands and palms had some water bubbles under the skin and my skin was peeling in parts. I looked as I decribed it, like a burn victim with blisters on my hands. However, there was no itch. I googled up some information and found it was similar to pompholyx or water blisters (link). However, there was no itch – it just looked and felt awful.
I sometimes get a mild form of this reaction with long exposure to paper – an occupational hazard but there you go! I attribute it to the chemicals used in making and treating paper. I am also allergic to certain detergents in the same way and I’ve learnt to stay clear of them. Once I stop any contact with these irritants, my hands heal quickly.
However, the most recent affliction did not go away even after I cut down contact with paper and when I introduced no new detergents to my house cleaning. If anything it was getting worse and eventually, I went to see a dermatologist who told me it was a form of skin allergy caused by contact with something that did not agree with me. With some pills and creams my hands were soon on their way to recovery. Here’s a picture of my hands after the worst was over. Not the best picture to put up on a beauty blog but hey, you gotta take the bad with the good eh? 🙂
At time of writing, my hands are 90% back to normal. Whew!
I did initially consider if it might be the Mukti facial wash and Pegaga soap I was using that caused this reaction to the skin on my hands. These are the only new things I have been using in the past month when the problem started. The Mukti facial wash is also the only new thing I had with me on holiday when my hands worsened. However since both are organic products, I wrote them off quite quickly. The penny dropped however, with 2 incidents.
One was a comment left by Tine of Beautyholics Anonymous that she gets contact dermatitis from some organic products. A second was a friend who borrowed my Mukti facial wash and reported an immediate itch and slight swelling around the eyes that passed after a few days.
A quick email to Tine confirmed my suspicions. While Tine gets the itchy sort of rash (my commiserations!) I don’t for which I count myself lucky. But this also confirms my suspicions that one CAN be allergic to organic products.
I still am not sure why this can be so but I reckon its the ingredients. Whilst the primary benefit of the essential oils used are good for the skin, there might be some secondary side effects which are unplumbed which might trigger off some allergic reaction in certain individuals. I am not enough of a chemist to work out the nitty gritty but I am thinking this is it. It is also entirely possible that I might be allergic to natural oils from certain plants if it is too concentrated.
So clearly, there are some things that work for my skin but are hell on my hands. I did not notice any reactions on my fingertips where I use my Mukti Rosehip Eye Gel so I’ll keep using that one. As the problem is predominantly on my palms I’m staying clear of both the Mukti facial wash and the Pegaga soap. Yuan soaps work well for me but I have been told that it aggravates the eczema in some others.
So the moral to this all is this: Yes you can be allergic to organic products as with everything else. Its a matter of knowing what is causing the allergy and to find an alternative that works just as well.
For now, I’m going to start paying better attention to my hands. Clearly they are a far better indicator than my face of whether a product will react adversely with my skin!
Have you had a similar experience? Have you reacted adversely to any organic skincare or products? Am I alone in this? Do share!