Sensitive skin products need a second look

Published: Oct. 24, 2017 at 5:37 PM PDT
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In a trip down the grocery store aisle, you'll have no trouble finding skin care products that offer something for the eczema patient, the person with sensitive skin, or something that is fragrance-free.

Michelle McAndrew says she's been fighting skin rashes caused by products nearly her whole life.

“It is just kind of trial and error for a lot of products I have to use it, see if I get a rash from it,” says Michelle.

A new study in

suggests you can't just go off what the products say. You need to check the ingredients.

“Yeah, I've been saying this for years,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson with Nevada Center for Dermatology.

Dr. Lamerson says it’s been an ongoing problem. Products that claim they are fragrance-free, for sensitive skin, or hypoallergenic?

“They really are used as marketing terms. So it makes it difficult for patients,” says Dr. Lamerson.

The study shows a large percentage of moisturizers contain at least one potential allergy-causing ingredient like a fragrance, preservatives, lanolin, parabens, to name just a few. That's despite what the outside label says.

In general, Dr. Lamerson says the fewer ingredients listed on the back, the less likely the product contains something that might aggravate your sensitive skin. She says some products that are the least irritating can also be the least expensive.

“Using things like Vaseline petrolatum has one ingredient,” she says.

So for sensitive skin patients looking at the ingredients for a moisturizer or lotion, consider there may be no strength in numbers.