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Consumer Information on Safety

What is allergy? An allergy is the response of the body’s immune system* to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods and house dust mites. Whilst in most people these substances pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a ‘threat’ and produces an unexpected response for the individual concerned. Allergies, like hayfever, are quite common and aff ect approximately one in four of the popular on in the statistically at some point in their lives.

How does it work? Everyone is different and so allergies are personal to you - it‘s in your genes. Remember some people may never develop an allergy. You could become allergic to almost anything, from naturally occurring substances to man-made ones, even if you have previously come into contact with it many times before without a problem. This is because allergies can build up undetected over time. After a number of exposures to an allergen, a threshold will be reached which will result in an allergic reaction. Some allergies are more common than others. For example approximately 3-5% of the population suffer from food allergies, between 15 -20% of people have hayfever and around 30% of the population suffer from a nickel allergy. How strongly the body reacts to allergens can vary enormously: from severe reactions to things like peanuts, to the discomfort associated with hayfever. There are different types of allergy: Some are immediate in onset and others are delayed before you see a reaction. For example sneezing can start straight away after being triggered by animal hair, whereas some reactions appear in the area of contact after 24 to 72 hours. Did you know?  In allergic individuals the substances that cause allergies, are known as allergens. Allergens themselves are not harmful on their own. The problem occurs when your body overreacts to the substance and its self-defence mechanism attacks the body as a result.  Allergic reactions cannot occur after the first or a single exposure. The body has to have met the allergen before, in order to then recognise it and react to it. * The immune system is the body’s organs and processes that provide resistance to infections and toxins.

How does allergy work?

There are two main types of allergy:

  • Immediate: an allergic reaction that occurs suddenly, generally a few minutes after exposure to the allergen. Common examples are hay fever triggered by pollen or allergic asthma triggered by animal hair
  • Delayed
    an allergic reaction that does not show until some time, usually 24 to 72 hours, after contact with the allergen. An example is ‘allergic delayed contact dermatitis’ triggered by skin contact with the allergen and producing a local reaction at or near the area of contact. If further contact with the allergen is avoided, there will be no further reaction and the skin heals.

 

Allergy’ is a term that is often misused to describeall kinds of adverse reactions. There are two main types of adverse reactions that may be experienced: irritant reactions and allergic reactions.  In fact there’s a big difference between being irritated by a substance and being allergic to it. 

Irritant reactions are the most common adverse reaction and should not be confused with allergic reactions. An irritant type of reaction occurs rapidly following use of a product. Redness of the skin, sometimes with an itch, is characteristic of an irritant effect. This clears up rapidly after ceasing to use the product that is causing the problem.

Allergic reactions are excessive reactions by our bodies to substances in our environment that are harmless to the majority. Unlike irritant reactions, allergic reactions involve the body’s immune system. A person who is allergic to a substance may be sensitised to it for the rest of their life yet most people would never become allergic to that same substance. Everyone is different – what you will become allergic to is determined by your genes.  Some people may never develop an allergy.

 

What about ingredients in cosmetic products? In gerneral people can even be allergic to commonly used products. It’s not that ingredients in these are unsafe – it’s the way the body reacts to them. This can differ from person to person. “The process of determining the safety and composition of a product is rigorous and great care is taken to constantly re-assess the science behind it.

What to do if you think you’ve had an allergic reaction to a cosmetic product:
The majority of people in the world safely use cosmetic products without any problems. However a small number of people will have a reaction to certain ingredients. If you have had an allergic reaction: Go and see your General Practioner for further information. Contact the manufacturer to let them know you have had a problem with their product. They will be able to advise you. Once the ingredient you are allergic to has been identified, you will be able to avoid it by checking the ingredient list on product packaging when you purchase any product again. Ingredients are listed with the same names across the world, so you should be able to identify your allergen even when abroad.

Always perform an Allergy Alert Test every time you purchase a new personal care product.
Apply a small amount of the product behind the ear or on the inner elbow.

If you suspect that you have had a reaction to a cosmetic product containing an allergen known by you, it is best to contact your doctor or medical specialist so that you can be referred for patch testing by a dermatologist. Do though also contact the manufacturer (contact details, often including customer care departments, are provided on-pack) so the problem can be investigated. This feedback provides the industry with invaluable information.

Consumers with a known allergy to certain nuts may wish to avoid products that contain nut derived ingredients.

All about pH
 

Our skin naturally has a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5, hence the name “acid mantle”. It takes a lot of energy to maintain this low pH.

The lower the pH this provides a hostile environment for invading microbes and favours the growth of beneficial microflora.

If a product claims to be “pH balanced” it simply means that buffers have been added to keep the pH of the product constant.

Some products are balanced at pH 7, others at higher or lower pH’s.

It takes about 18 hours for the skin to normalise its pH (even longer for unhealthy skin).

All the products that you use should be pH balanced, but most important is your moisturiser. 

This is the product that remains on the skin in greatest volume and will determine the residual pH.

Advantages of skin that is pH balanced:

  • Primary defense against bacteria
  • Helps prevent toxins from penetrating the skin
  • Controls water movement through the epidermis (TEWL) allowing skin to remain moisturised and hydrated
  • Improves skin lubrication

All our products are pH balanced accordingly.

 

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