So many people have the impression that a natural product will not irritate sensitive skin. We often perceive plant derivatives as being gentler or safer but we forget that poison ivy isn’t exactly skin friendly and that what one skin finds calming, another might not be so happy about.
The reality is that reactions and irritations do come from plant extracts as well as laboratory modified ingredients. We need only look at how common particular food allergies are to see that our bodies can potentially find the most natural of ingredients to be problematic. Common allergies and intolerances include lactose, gluten, nuts, wheat, pollen and so forth, all of which are natural.
Even essential oils which come directly from plants can be so strong that most have to be diluted before being applied to skin. Some essential oils can also cause photosensitivity. We mustn’t underestimate nature.
Certainly some consumers will find alcohol-based synthetic fragrances irritating to their particular skin, however there are just as many that cannot tolerate particular essential oils or botanical extracts.
It would seem that we are becoming more psychologically sensitised to products than we are physically. With so many buzz words and scare stories, many of us are developing an attitude of avoidance due to lack of facts than factual evidence to prove the fear. It’s good to be cautious when you’re unsure of a product or an ingredient, but it’s wise to get the facts so you can make informed decisions about your skin and skincare.
Ultimately the way our body reacts to natural or synthesised ingredients will be unique to us, so there is no hard and fast rules about what ingredients are best. It’s a case of knowing what doesn’t agree with your skin, be that particular botanical ingredients, fragrance or preservatives, and knowing what to avoid for your individual skin.