Reasons why skincare products cause skin irritation

Why does my skin care product make my skin itch, hurt or sting?

Why does my skin care product make my skin super oily, dry, scaly or inflamed? 

Why does my skin care product make my skin break out in a rash, feel hot or tight?

Honestly, there’s a lot of reasons. About 70 000, give or take. That’s approximately how many synthetic chemicals are in use today, with some estimates that around 13 000 of these are used in cosmetics. There are at least 3000 registers for use in fragrance alone. These numbers are pretty vague cos it seems that no one has really been keeping track of who has created synthetic chemicals, what they’ve been used for or, most alarmingly, how safe they are. 

It may surprise you to know that many many of these have never been tested for safety, or have only been tested by the company that makes and sells them. Even fewer have been through the one rigorous carcinogenicity testing.

It may also surprise you to know that when they are tested, they are tested in isolation and then sold in combinations. And even if the combinations they’re sold in are a-ok, 100% not going to cause skin issues, that doesn’t account for the chemicals in the other products we’ll use that day. 

I’m not a mathematician but how many ways are there to combine 3000 chemicals. A lot. And each one of those combinations might cause changes in otherwise safe chemicals.

There’s also the difference between nature and nature-identical chemicals. In nature chemicals exist with other chemicals. So the naturally-occurring beta-damescenone in Rose Oil that gives it its unique scent is balanced and supported by around 150 other chemicals that make up the rose.

In a lab, scientists can isolate that beta-damescenone, re-create it more cheaply than extracting it from the eye-wateringly expensive rose essential oil, and then use it in dilutions and amounts and combinations that are anything but natural. It might be safe, but it might not, and there are precious few studies in to their safety that are not funded directly or indirectly by the companies with something to prove – and to sell. 

So the short-reason why your skin is reacting badly?

It’s the guinea pig in an experiment on the use of synthetic chemicals. Whether this is some colossal conspiracy or simply the result of a self-regulating skincare industry whose purpose is profit not healthy skin, is honestly, kind of irrelevant, if all you want is happy skin.

The answer, either way, is the same. Use real whole oils, fats, butters and herbs, and treat your skin and hair oils the only ones you’ve got.


If you’d like some old fashioned skin-loving whole ingredients hand-blended to make genuinely natural skin care that will nourish your skin, check out what we do.