Eye irritation from cosmetics. How is it possible?

We regularly get the question why it is possible that the skin around the eyes is suddenly irritated or even inflamed. And is there a solution for this? Time for a blog about causes from the use of cosmetics and possible solutions.

Why is the skin around your eyes extra sensitive?
The skin around the eyes is very thin, thinner than your other facial skin. For example, 0.5 mm on the eyelids. And contains hardly any sebaceous glands and less collagen and elastin fibers. As a result, you 'damage' the skin quickly. And it is more sensitive to skin irritants, because they can penetrate the skin more easily. If the skin around your eyes is irritated, another part of your facial skin may also be somewhat irritated, without this showing itself. The skin around your eyes often gives a first noticeable / visible reaction to an irritation.

Your eyes and the area around your eyes are also very active, so they can become overloaded more quickly; sitting around your eyes 22! eye muscles that are constantly moving. In addition, you make about 10,000 blinking movements with your eyes per day.

Suddenly an irritated skin? How is that possible?
Usually the irritation, allergic reaction or eczema is not 'suddenly', but something that has built up slowly. For example, every time your skin comes into contact with a foreign or irritating substance, certain substances in the immune system are activated. And distributed throughout the body. When your body 'has had enough', the skin reacts as soon as it comes into contact with the irritating substance again.

As annoying as it is, it often takes a while before the irritation or eventual allergic reaction (contact allergy) is gone. Something that has built up slowly needs time to recover and a little more time to build up sufficient protection against external influences. In fact, it is often the case that a built-up contact allergy to a certain substance remains for a long time or forever.

Causes of irritation

  • Do you suffer from hay fever, asthma or a food allergy? Then you have a greater chance of 'atopic' or constitutional eczema. From an inflammatory response to substances or stimuli from the environment. Eczema that you often suffer from (with fits) from an early age. This eczema can also develop around the eyes. The autoimmune disease psoriasis can also cause dry, flaky skin around the eyes,
  • House mites can be a trigger for an irritation/allergic/eczema reaction around the eyes. And also chlorine, insect bites, smoke, pet dander.
  • Unfortunately, cosmetic products such as cleaning products, soap, make-up, sunscreen and eye creams are often a major culprit. Main triggers are certain ingredients in these products: perfumes, synthetic preservatives and chemical sunscreens. Common triggers:
    • Chemical filters in sunscreens. Oxybenzone is a leader in skin irritation.
    • Synthetic preservatives such as parabens, kathone, formaldehyde, imidazolidinyl urea / diazolidinyl urea (bromine compounds), DMDM ​​hydantoin, benzoic acid (benzoic acid), phenoxy ethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, quaternium-15
    • Lanolin (depending on origin and quality)
    • Peru Balm
    • (Synthetic) perfumes

Does using natural cosmetics help?
Not all natural cosmetics help prevent skin irritation around the eyes or prevent its recurrence. This depends on the substance that irritates your skin. It may also very well be that your skin has been triggered for years by a synthetic substance and therefore eventually no longer tolerates a natural substance.

Fragrances in natural cosmetics - allergy trigger
Certain ingredients of natural fragrances can also trigger your skin. This is related to, among other things, the concentration, the purity of the fragrance and, of course, the frequency of use. Components of essential oils that can cause irritation include cinamal, citral, coumarin, eugenol, geraniol, iso-eugenol, benzyl benzoate, benzyl cinnamate, citronellol, limonene, linalol, farnesol. On products that remain on your skin, these substances must be listed at a concentration from 0.001%. For products that you rinse from 0.01%.

Avoid synthetic preservatives
Preventing or reducing irritation can be done by avoiding said synthetic preservatives. For example, phenoxy ethanol is still used in a number of natural cosmetics products. Legally, a natural product may still contain 5% synthetic preservative. Making a high-quality product without synthetic preservatives, which also has a shelf life, is difficult. As far as I know, there are only a very limited number of brands worldwide that have succeeded in this. The facial care brands that you will find at INDISHA do not contain synthetic preservatives. And are sustainable.

My opinion is that synthetic preservatives generally don't do your skin any good. So preferably avoided. I certainly don't want them in the products I use. A very little bit may not hurt. But adding up a lot of little bits in different cosmetic products quickly becomes a bit too much.

My opinion on fragrances in pure cosmetics products
I did not graduate in the field of ingredients, but I do have a scientific background. And a lot of knowledge about ingredients in cosmetics. I have thought a long time, read a lot and talked to many people about the question of whether or not products with fragrances fit into INDISHA's range.

My conclusion is that fragrances are possible, but not for everyone. And in a not too high concentration. That the purity and the method of obtaining the fragrance can also determine whether it triggers a skin reaction. And that variety of products with fragrances is important. Just as variety in nutrients is important for a healthy body. Use - with daily use - natural perfumes rather on your clothes than on your skin. Partly to prevent pigment spots in the summer due to a reaction with sunlight.

What triggered me was that aromatherapy has been used for centuries as a healing therapy for, among other things, the skin. Without everyone getting skin complaints from this.

And that applies to natural foods: what is good for one person is not necessarily good/healthy for another person. That partly depends on your constitution and possibly your primal origin. For example, avocado may be healthy for me, but not for you.

A brand like Dr. Hauschka - which uses essential oils from plants and flowers in its products - has been used by people for years without any irritation on the skin. Some oils even have a healing effect. Daily INDISHA practice shows that people who are already sensitive to fragrances can react. But also a part of Dr. Hauschka tolerates fine, while they absolutely do not tolerate synthetic perfumes.

Abloom eye cream contains no or a very low concentration of fragrance components from the 'irritation list'. The day cream, for example, is again. According to Abloom, irritation also depends on the purity of the essential oil and the distillation process used. Given the scientific background of the Abloom product developer, we can assume that he knows what he is saying! If there is anyone who knows about plants and their effect (on the skin), it's him. However, Abloom always uses the whole ingredients of a plant, never a derived ingredient (From vegetable ingredients, a new ingredient is manufactured - derived) by means of a 'chemical' process. Only the latest SPF products contain derived ingredients.

Dr Baumann avoids using 'irritation list' fragrance ingredients. Dr Baumann's SkinIdent line is even completely based on 100% skin-identical ingredients. Based on the idea that something that is identical to the composition of the skin will be tolerated by the skin. Because this is not recognized as a foreign substance.

Irritation from makeup brushes!
Do you use makeup brushes? Then clean it regularly! And rather use brushes with synthetic hair (nowadays of super quality!) than animal hair. Not only from animal-friendly considerations, but also because they are more hygienic - less likely to absorb bacteria.

In the winter months, a humidifier can offer a solution, especially for eczema! The air is then drier, for example due to heating in the house. This triggers eczema.

Also interesting
In 2012, the scientific committee for consumer safety of the EU drew up a list of ingredients that can cause a contact allergy - NB : applies to items in bold with three or four plus signs.

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Sources : mens & health, www.womantoday.nl, www.natuurlijke-huidverzorging.com, www.heelnatuurlijk.nl, www.webmd.com, ec.europa.eu