Skincare Question of the Month


How can I find out which ingredient in a skincare product is affecting my skin?

One way to find out if you have Allergic Contact Dermatitis or Irritant Contact Dermatitis is to do Patch Testing. I highly recommend this because it is very specific. But…

If you don’t have the time it takes to invest in Patch Testing (3 doctor’s visits) or if your insurance won’t cover it, here is a quick guide to the things that are most likely to cause Contact Dermatitis and that you should avoid.

1. Surfactants. Surfactants are foaming agents. The make “lather.” The most common culprit is cocamidopropyl betaine, and it is in most shampoos. You wash and rinse your hair and the lather flows down across your face and body and irritates the skin.

2. Preservatives. Now that many companies are trying to remove parabens preservatives from their products, they are using other preservatives. Unfortunately, most of these alternative preservatives are “formaldehyde releasers” and they can be very allergenic.

  • quaternium 15
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • diazolidinyl urea

Avoiding these isn’t going to be easy. This is going to involve reading all the labels of everything that comes into contact with your skin, but for people with skin problems, it’s really worth it unless you are going to do the Patch Testing and find out your specific results.

Oftentimes, you can find natural products that won’t have most of the offenders listed above.