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Need to buy a gift for someone who suffers from contact allergies?

Ah, Christmas, such a happy time of the year.

Over the years at Christmas time, I remember receiving fragranced hand creams and floral scented skin care products from my patients and friends and how much I really enjoyed those moments. That is, until I developed contact allergies. Now, I cannot use any product with chemical sunscreen actives, nickel or synthetic fragrances. I have to be conscious of what I use (sigh).

If you want to buy a holiday gift for someone (such as a skin care product), but he or she suffers from contact allergies, here are some tips to get you through the holiday season.

  1. Find out what ingredients the person is allergic to or cannot tolerate.
    There’s nothing more sad than receiving a nice, sweet smelling skin care item that you can’t use! (I should know, I’ve been there!) During an outing with your giftee, ask to borrow hand cream for your dry hands, that way you can check out the brand he or she is using.   On the off chance you can wrangle the person to accompany u to the drugstore, ask what brands they use while picking up lip balm for yourself....
  2. Choose products with minimal ingredients.
    Personal care, skin care as well as cosmetics can have ingredient labels with what seems like over 100 ingredients. You want to opt for products with fewer ingredients to minimize the amount of chemicals and allergens one can react to. Individuals with eczema are more susceptible to allergens and certain ingredients include chemicals that can trigger a flare.
  3. Read ingredient labels.
    Learn to recognize what ingredients make up a lotion, shampoo or soap. For example, lotions are comprised of oil and water mixed in with an emulsifier. Extra additives can include butters, oils, natural or artificial fragrances and ingredients to stabilize and preserve the product. Knowing which ingredients are essential and which are “extra” can make shopping for a gift that much easier.
  4. Learn about the common allergens which people react to. Common contact allergens include fragrance, p-phenylenediamine, nickel, formaldehyde, parabens, propylene glycol and quarternium-15. Many of these allergens can be found as cosmetic and skin care ingredients.
  5. Beware of product labels saying “hypoallergenic.”
    The FDA does not recognize or regulate such a word in regards to cosmetics and its definition is what the manufacturer deems it to be.  
  6. Be mindful of what salespeople try to sell you this holiday season.
    Many sellers in the holiday markets and even in the mall stores will tell you about trending products or show on you how wonderful a sea salt scrub will make your skin feel. However, it has been my experience (more than a few times now) where they don’t always know the ingredients and will tell you the ingredient is not in the product when in fact, it is. You still have to be a smart + informed consumer and do your homework. Read ingredient labels.
  7. Tempted to buy a “natural” product??
    Keep in mind ecofriendly and natural branded products can still be a problem for some individuals, products can even contain harmful or controversial ingredients. You won’t know this unless you read the ingredient labels (at least that’s a start).

We, skin care fanatics, all enjoy receiving skin care gifts over the holidays but for some of us, a body butter with synthetic fragrance or a face wash containing parabens may send us into pruritic misery. If you have an allergy sufferer you need to shop for, remember they may have special skin care needs and tolerances. With a little conscious effort and research, the skin care gift you buy may turn out to be something they will really love and completely be able to use and enjoy. How’s that for bringing joy?!

Happy shopping everyone!!

Have you ever had to shop for a gift for someone with skin allergies???

May peace and luv surround you throughout the year,