In addition to moisturizers, what ingredients can cause allergies in skincare products? Some of the culprits include fragrances, alcohol, formaldehyde, and preservatives.
Fragrances and potentially allergenic fragrance ingredients – Even fragrances derived from natural plant extracts or herbs can cause sensitivity reactions, and the terms “natural,” “organic,” or “herbal” are not a reliable indicator of safety. In Europe, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde (HICC) is the most common fragrance ingredient that causes skin allergies.
Alcohol or denatured alcohol (alcohol/denat) – These ingredients are commonly used in skincare products to improve texture and act as solvents to help certain ingredients dissolve and penetrate the skin’s surface. However, they can irritate the skin, especially in people with eczema or rosacea.
Formaldehyde – Some preservatives can release formaldehyde, which can cause skin irritation in some people. Higher concentrations of formaldehyde (200 to 300 ppm) can cause dermatitis, and people with open wounds, sensitive skin, or eczema need to be particularly careful.
Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) – This common preservative can cause allergic reactions in infants and some people.
Some preservatives, such as parabens, and sunscreens such as benzophenone, are suspected endocrine disruptors and can cause skin allergies in some people.
To avoid skincare products that contain these ingredients, those with particularly fragile or sensitive skin should pay extra attention. Unfortunately, current Hong Kong regulations do not require skincare products to disclose their full list of ingredients or identify potentially allergenic substances. Therefore, avoid purchasing skincare products with incomplete ingredient labels or unidentifiable sources. If you want to switch to a new skincare product, it’s best to request a trial package and apply it to your neck or inside your wrist for two to three days to check for any allergic reactions, as sensitivity reactions do not always occur immediately. If you experience redness, swelling, or itching after using a skincare product, stop using it immediately. If the symptoms persist after a day or two, seek medical attention. With the weather changing, it’s important to be extra vigilant when switching skincare products.