Do you both suffer from allergic contact dermatitis and if so, which products are you allergic to?
Leslie: No, luckily I don’t.
Monique: Yes, I am allergic to many of the ingredients in conventional cosmetic products such as cocamidopropyl betaine and a few other well-known allergy triggers, such as nickel.
What happens if you come into contact with one of these ingredients?
Monique: My skin becomes red and swollen. It is quite painful.
Parabens and perfumes are notorious allergy triggers. Have you both completely eliminated products containing these types of ingredients? Does this mean you cannot use products such as washing powder?
Leslie: Fortunately, I do not have allergic contact dermatitis, or at least not yet, so I can be a little bit more flexible. I will occasionally use a scented washing powder or shampoo, but I only use Squalan in my skin care regime and I try to ensure all my cleaning products are allergen free.
Monique: I do not use any products containing allergens or perfumes. I use soap nuts to do my washing and occasionally use a fragrance-free washing powder. I am also very particular when it comes to washing-up liquid and cleaning products – I vigilantly check product labels. I like to condition the ends of my hair with Pure Squalan, easy does it!
Are all of your children’s skin care products allergen-free as well?
Monique: We have a bathroom full of my skin care products so my girls use these as well. My oldest is 14 and uses the Cleanser a few times a week to wash her face. She uses the Pure Squalan as a moisturizer. The only product my ten-year-old uses is a drop of Pure Squalan on her face to keep it hydrated.
Leslie: My son has just turned one and the only lotion I use on his skin is Pure Squalan. I also use allergen-free baby wipes. My take on babies is that they have a lovely, pure, natural smell, so why mask that with scented products? The only times I use Pure Squalan on my son’s skin is when I give him a bath or change him. I also have plenty of samples of Pure Squalan Soap lying around so I use those to wash his body and use allergen-free washing powder for his clothes.
During my pregnancy, I wondered if it would be better to expose his skin to ingredients in ‘conventional’ products as I had heard not doing so could result in severe allergic reactions later in life. I am very grateful that Allergy Certified introduced me to Prof Rustemeyer at this point. He made it clear that this was not the case for skin allergies. Allergic contact dermatitis only develops after repeated exposure to a substance. It can take years for the skin to become sensitized to a substance. This is why children should not be exposed to allergens. Then, when they do come into contact with an allergen at a later stage in life, it does not matter as much.
What do you suggest for sensitive, irritated skin or for skin allergy sufferers?
Leslie: Stick to pure products as much as possible and avoid products that have parabens or perfumes in them. Be aware that natural fragrances can trigger allergies as well. Always read product labels carefully and check a product for certification labels. We really trust the Allergy Certified label, for instance. They are a Danish company that have made quite a name for themselves throughout Scandinavia. Their dermatologists and toxicologists always thoroughly evaluate the ingredients of a product before allowing it to carry the Allergy Certified label. This makes things easier because as soon as you see the Allergy Certified label, you know that product is safe to use, even if the product contains complicated sounding ingredients that you do not understand.