And no one warns you about them!
Perhaps due to ignorance or negligence…
But the great news is that your epiphany has finally come…
To expose the insidious culprits…glean deeper insights…and take care of your skin from a point of authoritative knowledge, not guesswork or fantasy!
You see, you live with these culprits every moment of your life…
And chances are slim that you’d take note of their presence and the damage they can inflict on your skin.
Don’t beat or curse yourself once you get in the know–you’re not to blame, but the skin care science and beauty industry.
But what’s important is now–this moment when you’re reading this article. It’s your moment of revelation–to know the skin health enemies that surround you everyday without the remotest warnings of any danger.
You see, skin disease can come in many forms–eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, dermatitis, and so on.
What these conditions have in common is their undeniable ability to make your life miserable and wretched–waning self-esteem and confidence, fear of rejection, stigma–you name it!
At first, you may make the mistake most people do and write it off as just a little dryness or redness, but gradually, the symptoms progress to something much worse like high-grade eczema…
A condition that can take over your life and determine the difference between a good and a bad day.
Many triggers and causes of skin disease and flare-ups remained unknown for a long time, but thanks to cutting-edge research on skin disease, many culprits have now been exposed from their hideouts.
A dysbiosis of the gut microbiome, autoimmunity, diet and food reactions, thyroid dysfunction, toxicity overload from chemicals and heavy metals, hormone imbalance, chronic stress, or a host of other factors could trigger various skin conditions.
For true and lasting healing to occur, the causes must be ultimately identified and eliminated.
One of the best ways to assist the body in the healing process and make life livable, is to avoid the acute escalations in inflammation, redness, itching and burning–collectively known as flare-ups.
And this is where a trigger differs to a large extent from a cause…
Whereas a cause is the root of the problem, a trigger is an aggravator (activator) of that problem, meaning the problem exists and only requires a spark to explode.
In many cases, everyday items, which would normally not cause a problem whatsoever, can cause severe irritation in extremely sensitive skin that’s suffering from one of the aforementioned conditions.
There’s an overlap, though. For example, exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals can be both a cause for skin disease developing in the first place, and on the other hand, a trigger for flare-ups.
Chemical and heavy metal toxicity can lead to many ailments, not just skin disease. Accordingly, living a non-toxic lifestyle to the greatest extent possible is advisable, no matter the health concern at hand.
What are some of the typical Triggers of Skin Flare-ups?
You’ll be literally shocked to discover some everyday items are triggers! You may even be skeptical at first, but the scientific proof behind the claims is inarguable.
Rubber is one of them!
You see, rubber latex is produced using the sap from the rubber tree–Hevea Brasiliensis. This, of course, is from nature, and for most people, it’s perfectly fine to come into contact with rubber.
How wrong can you be?
For people with chronic skin conditions, certain proteins found in rubber and its products, can trigger irritation and flare-ups.
Some people may even have a sensitivity to rubber without having a known skin condition.
It’s important to note sensitivity can occur from the proteins in rubber, or due to the chemical accelerants and antioxidants, sometimes used in production when turning the rubber tree sap into rubber latex used in products.
Thiurams, mercaptobenzothiazole, thioureas, and carbamates used in rubber production are all synthetic compounds that could cause skin issues.
In the case of powdered rubber gloves, the high pH of the powder and/or the chemicals used to make them could also be the culprit in skin dryness or irritation.
Some products such as latex paint are made with synthetic/man-made latex. Notably, synthetic latex does not contain the proteins found in natural rubber, which cause irritation.
However, avoiding contact with synthetic chemicals as much as possible is always a good idea.
Common Sources of Natural Rubber in Consumer Products:
- Athletic shoes
- Baby bottles, nipples, and pacifiers
- Underwear legs and waistbands
- Rubber toys
Common Sources of Natural Rubber in Medical and Dental Supplies
- Disposable gloves
- Dental dams
- Airway and intravenous tubing
- Dressings and bandages
Nickel is yet another flare-up trigger…
Nickel is a naturally occuring metallic element, and is the fifth most common element on earth.
Owing to the nature of its physical and chemical properties, nickel is used in producing a vast array of products.
Some ions found within nickel can cause severe irritation in those suffering from a chronic skin condition.
Nickel allergies in individuals without chronic skin conditions can also develop due to prolonged exposure to nickel-containing items.
Dangerous exposure to nickel can come in two forms–release of nickel ions, and sweat.
Products containing nickel will release nickel ions, which are then absorbed into the skin.
Some nickel-containing alloys, such as many types of stainless steel, do release these ions, but not in enough amounts to cause a problem.
Nickel can also be leached from metals due to contact with sweat. The element itself will then either rest on, or be absorbed into the skin and the hazardous ions will cause irritation.
Common Sources of Nickel
- Belt buckles
- Bra hooks
- Brass fixtures
- Cell Phones
- Cello strings
- Cigarette lighters
- Chrome fixtures
- Costume jewelry
- Dental devices
- Eyeglass frames
- Gold-especially white and yellow 10k and 14k
- Guitar strings
- Hair pins
- Hand tools
- Handbag clutches
- Heirloom jewelry
- “Hypoallergenic” jewelry
- Jeans studs
- Kitchen utensils
- Lipstick holders
- Medical equipment
- Metal buttons and snaps
- Musical instruments–metal keys, mouthpieces
- “Nickel-free” jewelry
- Pocket knives
- Powder compacts
- Suspender clips
- Watches & bands, and
- Zippers, among others
The easiest way to avoid nickel is, first and foremost, to be aware it could cause a problem and be on the lookout for any possible adverse reactions whenever you come into contact with any metal products.
Additionally, at-home tests to ascertain the nickel content in metal products are widely available.
Unfortunately, even though “nickel-free” has become a common selling point in jewelry, many products marketed on that premise, still do test positive for nickel.
Turning to Clothing and Textiles…
Nothing touches your skin more than the clothes you wear, with sheets and blankets likely coming in a close second. Therefore, knowing what to look for and what to avoid in the fabrics is crucial to avoiding flare-ups.
The fibers used to create certain textiles will be inherently more abrasive than others.
The heightened irritation might not cause a problem in someone not suffering from a chronic skin condition, yet could absolutely be the cause of widespread flare-ups in someone who is.
Moreover, the additives and chemicals used in producing fabrics could contribute to the problem.
Ingredients like formaldehyde, petrochemical dyes, heavy metal dye fixatives, flame retardants, perfluorinated chemicals–the harmful chemical in teflon pans, caustic soda, and sulphuric acid are all commonplace in textile production, particularly in synthetic textiles.
Synthetic is the most dangerous group of materials in clothing and textiles. Synthetic textiles are produced using man-made chemicals, whereas natural textiles, such as cotton, hemp or wool are derived from nature.
Synthetic clothing is more likely to be irritating in and of itself. Not only are artificial chemicals used on the production process, but the clothing itself is made of artificial material.
The most hazardous synthetic fabrics and features are:
Anything labeled static-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, permanent press, no-iron, stain-proof, flame-retardant, or moth-repellent is guaranteed to have been treated with artificial chemicals.
On the natural front, although wool is indeed an entirely natural fabric, it can be itchy on some skins. If this happens, avoid it.
Advocates of merino wool do claim it’s the exception and will not irritate sensitive skin.
Although cotton is a great choice, ensure it’s organic i.e. grown without synthetic pesticides and herbicides, and from a source that’s careful about what goes into the production of the clothing.
Again, watch out for blends in fabric material. 50% polyester is still enough to cause irritation. Look for 100% natural materials.
Of course, there are fabrics known not to trigger flare-ups…
The safest choices for non-irritating natural fabrics are:-
- Organic cotton
- TENCEL–made from wood pulp using natural production methods.
Always scout for clothing lines made from TENCEL and infused with zinc, a mineral known to soothe chronic skin conditions.
Turning your attention to preservatives…
They include a broad array of compounds added to many different types of products, mainly for the purpose of extending shelf-life in one way or another.
In traditional settings, natural methods such as using salt and pickling in food at least, were commonplace. Today, however, artificial chemicals have pervaded the majority of products found on store shelves, even those labeled as organic in many cases.
Most, if not all, synthetic chemicals used for preservation have been found to trigger flare-ups in skin conditions.
Food preservatives are used for purposes of preventing spoilage, keeping foods fresh, and to slow changes in color, flavor, or texture.
The most common food preservatives to look out for on labels include:
- Benzoates–most commonly sodium benzoate
- Sorbates–most commonly potassium sorbate
- Sulfites, and
The easiest way to avoid preservatives is eating whole, organic foods. In other words, avoid packaged foods of all kinds, as much as possible.
Preservatives in Pharmaceutical Drugs
Preservatives in pharmaceuticals mainly inhibit microbial growth, as well as prevent oxidation.
A small sampling of preservatives used include:
- Benzyl Alcohol
- Meta cresol
- Benzoic acid
- Propylene Glycol
- Benzalkonium Chloride
Many common preservatives in pharmaceuticals can be avoided by seeking out a specialty compounding pharmacy and asking what is possible to remove, or even having a conversation with a more conventional pharmacist in most cases.
Preservatives in Make-up and Personal Care Products
Everything from shampoos and conditioners, sunscreen, lotions of all kinds, toothpaste and make-up can contain synthetic chemical preservatives, though many claim to use natural and organic ingredients in their advertising.
Common preservatives include:
- Formaldehyde releasers (Imidazolidinyl Urea)
- Sodium Benzoate
- Potassium sorbate
Keep an eye on labels on all make-up and personal care products for anything that isn’t a food-based ingredient or essential oil.
In some categories like shampoos and conditioners, it can be extremely difficult to find a product free of chemical preservatives.
The good news is that you can consider making your own… and there are plenty of great DIY recipes online.
And talking of sunscreens…
Oxybenzone in sunscreen is a must-avoid. It’s used in most conventional sunscreens since it’s effective in absorbing UV rays.
The only problem is…
It’s now been linked to a host of health issues including triggering skin flare-ups, not to mention environmental pollution and contamination.
And now enter…
Which include humidity, basically denoting the amount of moisture in the atmosphere.
A salient characteristic of chronic skin conditions is perpetual dryness that is very hard to keep moisturized.
If the prevailing climate is very dry (low humidity), this pulls out the skin moisture, thereby greatly exacerbating the dry skin condition.
On the other hand, high humidity can easily cause sweating, which can lead to severe itchiness in chronic skin conditions. This can potentially trigger flare-ups.
Ideal humidity ranges from 30%-50%, with most people finding the best relief closer to 50%.
Humidifiers or dehumidifiers can be very handy for people in climates outside of the optimal humidity range.
In the case of humidifiers, be sure to periodically check and clean the water tank to inhibit mold growth, and/or purchase a unit with built-in mechanism to prevent it.
Hot climates can also be a trigger because they induce excessive sweating, leading to dehydration.
You can mitigate this by avoiding exposure to high temperatures…
And where possible, consider relocation to a more ideal locale, altogether.
What about Grass and Sand?
Environmental allergies are potential causes of chronic skin conditions. Certain natural compounds found in various grasses can be irritating to those struggling with such conditions.
Worse yet, due to the coarse nature of sand, it can, too, be irritating to an existing condition.
These cases may apply to some situations, and not others. As such, of paramount importance is to know that it can happen, and be guarded the next time you sit or walk barefoot on either of these otherwise very pleasant natural surfaces.
The list of potential triggers is fairly long…
And harsh detergents are a part of it…
The problem with detergents is they aren’t entirely washed off clothes during washing.
Some detergent residues will remain attached to garments after washing and drying. If the detergent is an irritant, it will be in contact with your skin.
Common Ingredients to avoid in Detergents:-
- 1.4 Dioxane
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS)
- Bleach/Sodium Hypochlorite
- Synthetic fragrances
Notably, SLS is often used or advertised in natural products…
And for sure, it can be derived from coconut or palm oil, but in nearly all cases, it still acts as a trigger for skin flare-ups!
When it comes to detergents, there is a host of non-toxic, gentle formulas you can choose from.
The world is chock full of pollutants and contaminants, and there’s no denying that toxicity is rising exponentially, leaving in its wake a trail of ailments, including cancer and chronic skin conditions.
And talking of toxicity, there are primary things to imperatively pay attention to in your living environment…
Adequate circulation of clean Air is one of them…
You see, much emphasis is placed on eating organic foods, and justifiably so. But think about how many times you eat per day, versus how many times you breathe per day!
Clearly, it behoves you to be more concerned about the quality of the air you breathe…
But it doesn’t happen quite often!
And there are many unsuspected air pollutants in your environment…
For instance, mold will find its way into your respiratory system due to leaky pipes and unattended damaged water system in your home.
You’re strongly advised to get your home inspected by a professional mold remediation company, just to be sure you’re not exposed to it.
Chemicals from otherwise “innocent” household items like furniture and cabinets are a big culprit.
Not only that…
Allergens such as pollen and dander can trigger adverse skin reaction.
Heavy metals are yet another culprit…finding their way into your air in colossal amounts. And fossil fuels are a major source!
How can you mitigate air pollution in your home?
The best way to breathe clean air inside your home is through dilution and filtration.
Windows should always remain open, even if just a crack in the winter.
Better yet, running a ceiling fan is a great way to ventilate and keep the air moving…
And to top it all, at least one high quality air purifier is a must-have for every home.
What if I told you your water is more contaminated than you can ever imagine?
The Environmental Working Group conducted a major analysis of tap water throughout the US, and the results were spine-chilling!
Just about every municipality had an alarming amount of man-made chemicals, pharmaceutical drug residues, and heavy metals, just to name a few.
As with air, a high quality water filter for drinking and shower (it touches your skin) is a must…
And I can’t stress this enough…
A whole home water filter should be high on your list of priority purchases.
Do you know your typical surfaces play host to triggers?
And you’ve no reason whatsoever to use any synthetic (man-made) chemicals for cleaning–period. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for sanitation or general cleaning and stain removal…
There’s a wide range of non-toxic options to choose from to ensure the surfaces your skin touches everyday are not a trigger.
Ever heard of petrolatum?
It’s the nickname for petroleum jelly, which is used in a variety of products and applications…
With Vaseline being the icon of all petroleum-based brands.
Petroleum jelly is indeed a petroleum byproduct, and has been recommended for many uses, including moisturizing dry skin.
But on the flip side, a more recent research has linked petroleum jelly to a variety of health concerns, and ironically…
It’s been found to be a trigger for worsening skin conditions in some people!
Remember to always consult a professional practitioner if in doubt, or in case of adverse reactions.
Perfumes make us smell nice…cement our sense of self-confidence and approval.
Unfortunately, almost all perfumes are composed mainly of artificial chemicals, many of which have been directly linked to triggering adverse skin conditions.
And while there are over 4,000 chemicals used in the fragrance industry, some of the most concerning for skin conditions include:-
- Methylene chloride
- Ethyl acetate
- Benzyl alcohol
It’s baby easy to avoid use of perfumes–either don’t use any at all, or drown in the joy of essential oils.
Thus far, you can agree with me…
That I’ve done the harder part of exposing the most common “innocent” flare-up triggers you interact with on a regular basis.
It’s time to do your part: Identify what affects your skin adversely and eliminate it from your space…
And in case you have a chronic skin condition, consult a professional practitioner to help manage your healing journey.
Following the tips and advice in this post will no doubt see you turn heads with reckless abandon.
To your supple, radiant, beautiful, and irresistible looks!
Honestly…you can’t read up to this point if the piece is not useful and engaging!
Don’t shelve it! Instead, share widely to foster skin health for a beautiful looking planet.
To say “Thank You” is an understatement of my gratitude for your patronage.
NB. Part of the content is from “Skin Disease Masterclass” hosted by Ryan & Teddy Sternagel.