Allergy vs. Sensitivities. What's the difference?
It's National Allergy Week. Allergy! is a common cry, even when the reaction is actually an irritation or sensitivity. So what is the difference between an allergy and sensitivity?
The scientific difference, is that an allergy is something that involves your immune system. Very often when we suffer an irritation or sensitivity, we incorrectly call it an allergy. An allergy is when a substance, that is perfectly safe for the majority of people, creates a reaction because your body thinks it is unsafe for you. Your clever immune system works to expel it. In the case of an allergy, you will always react to that substance and never be able to tolerate it. While some people will never have an allergy in their lives, while others do and that, is decided by your individual genes. Think of allergy to pollen (hayfever), peanuts, animal hair and nickel in costume jewellery. It can be instant and lifelong, or it can build up over a period of exposure until your immune system says, NO!
Irritation, or sensitivity to a substance, is the most likely reason for most reactions of redness, heat, rash, itchiness, irritation etc. The good news, is that it does not mean that you will suffer that for the rest of your life. You might be able to go for a period of abstinence from that substance and then introduce it and be absolutely fine.
In cosmetics, the most common allergy inducing substances are fragrance, preservatives and hair colours, as well as blues and greens in make up. That said, fragrance and preservative allergy affects less than 2% of the population. Since many more will have an irritation or sensitivity, you can see that it is unlikely to be an allergy though, check out any reaction with a medical professional. In addition, within a fragrance there may be up to 200 ingredients and it might only be one of them! If you think you have an allergy, you can get tested to discover what exactly causes it and then avoid that ingredient displayed on all cosmetic products.
So, next time you read in the Daily Mail and other dramatically negative publications, that your face is going to fall off if you use synthetic or other cosmetics, remember that fear sells papers. Don't be frightened into over-reacting.
So, how do you combat these reactions?
Don't use the product for a 1-3 week period and then try it again, or patch test yourself to see if it causes a similar reaction. If it is an allergic reaction you will need to avoid that substance.
In both cases, try to opt for products that contain high levels of anti-inflammatory ingredients. Echium Oil is possibly the very best you can get and we have had reports of people going through really reactionary skin issues and even aggressive medical treatment, tell us that MERUMAYA® products, especially those containing Echium Oil really help their skin. It is likely down to the fact that MERUMAYA® balance all the activity in their formulae with high levels of powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients and use Echium Oil a lot. Sure it has a bit of a musty smell, but when you have a reaction, irritation, sensitivity or allergy you will not even consider that a down-side if it calms your skin and allows you to use the most active ingredients to combat skin ageing, acne and sensitivity. For any skin, anti-inflammatory's help to make sure you can happily use high performance products like MERUMAYA® with low risk of sensitivity.
The most important product is Iconic Youth Serum™ and we recommend that without hesitation to all the worst cases of skin issues. Next up is Melting Cleansing Balm™ and then Intensely Youthful Eye Cream™. If you have any allergy, sensitivity, irritation, don't waste a minute. Just get those into your skincare wardrobe and you will see the difference from first application and it will just get better and better.