Perfumes that are synthetic, pure natural essential oils, organic essential oils, natural alcohol base, flower water base (hydrosol), or oil base (carrier oil) can contain ingredients which can irritate people with sensitive skin (irritant contact dermatitis) or cause allergic reactions in an individual with an allergy to a specific ingredient (allergic contact dermatitis). Particularly synthetic perfumes bought from department stores as this may have both synthetic and natural ingredients that can irritate the skin. The key is knowing the ingredient.
For those who either have sensitive skin or who have had a bad experience with perfumes in the past, a skin test before trying new products out is essential. Fortunately, a do-it-yourself skin test is free and easy to do at home.
1. Testing area for perfumes are usually done on the inside of the wrist or inside of the elbow.
2. Make sure the area is clean and free of other products.
3. Apply a small amount of the product on the inside of your wrist or inside of your elbow. Leave it on for 24 hours without wetting, washing or rubbing it off.
3. Monitor the spot to see if any irritation occurs in the form of rashes, swelling, soreness, redness or stinging on the spot.
4. If a reaction occurs, gently wash the product off with water and leave the spot alone until it clears up. If a more serious reaction occurs, see your doctor or dermatologist.
5. If no reaction occurs in 24 hours and you want to be extra careful, reapply the product on the same spot the next day and test for another 24 hours.
If no sign of reaction -- itching, redness or swelling occurs after 48 hours, the product should be safe for you to use.
For sensitive and hyper sensitive skin you can also fax or email your doctor or dermatologist the list of ingredients for a 2nd opinion. If you think you need to be patch tested, simply ask your general practitioner (GP) for a referral to a dermatologist. You can access your GP and dermatologist using your medicare and private health cover.
We listed the ingredients below that may cause skin irritation to sensitive skin depending on the applied amount and skin reaction. Remember that each skin has a unique sensitivity level. Hence testing on a small portion on the inside of the wrist is important.
1. All Spice
6. Black Pepper
22. Lemon Verbena
26. Palma Rosa
29. Rose Geranium
33. Tea Tree
34. Ylang Ylang
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