How Reviewing Your Beauty Products Can Improve Your Skin

There is one change I made in my daily routines that changed my life forever.

But first, you need to know about Adam.

Adam was a boy at my school, he was nice, and I liked him. The thing is, I decided we could not be friends. I avoided him, and when he asked if I wanted to hang out in the school holidays, I ran a mile- he must have thought I hated him.

I avoided him because he could not be my friend; if he were, he would know my secret. That every other night I sat in my house stinking of coal tar, with my head wrapped in clingfilm and ointment oozing down my face, neck, and back. The thought of anyone knowing this was an integral part of my life was intolerable, a secret shared with only my closest friend (because sometimes I had to do it at her house too).

Severe scalp psoriasis is something I had lived with since the age of 5.

Clearing scalp psoriasis

Fast forward to 2018, and I have not used a scalp solution since 2013 when I had a mega flare, then before that, it may have been in 2010? Needless to say. Life changing.

Now, this is where we usually roll our eyes, isn't it? Yeah, yeah, tell me the miracle cream you want me to buy already. This change wasn't a new cream, it was an exclusion.

You see when I was 5, and my scalp psoriasis was so severe my hair fell out, my parents took me to the Dead Sea in Isreal. If you have not heard of it, it is the saltiest sea in the world, so salty in fact that you will find no fish and on a hill overlooking the Dead Sea, is a skin clinic. Three weeks in Isreal and I was clear. The healing combination of the Dead Sea Salt and the sun (and avoidance of bullies and total parental attention probably helped too though I digress).

Dead Sea Salt, therefore, had a cult-like following in my family, so when I found a Dead Sea Salt shampoo after years of T-Gel, I gave it a go. Now this was a while ago, I was 17 so my estimation of the time it took for me to no longer require Cocois and the myriad of other solutions I used is unclear, but it was relatively fast, within weeks. No more scaling. I still had psoriasis, for a long time but it did not flake. Now I have it only in my hairline, but my scalp outside of Strep flares is clear.

Simple changes can make a big difference

The thing is, it was not the Dead Sea Salt that made the difference, the shampoo was also free of Sodium Laureth Sulfate. A harsh surfactant which makes shampoo (and body wash, hand wash, and toothpaste) froth. Excluding this from my products keeps my scalp clear.

Psoriasis makes me laugh though (when it doesn't make me cry). My body did not clear- only my scalp! It seems to have its own rules, and the best we can do is learn to work with it, so my quest for my body is ongoing.

What are other common triggers? It is likely that Sodium Laureth Sulfate is not a trigger for you, we are all different.

Here are other potential triggers in your products to watch out for:

  • Sodium Laureate Sulfate: Harsh surfactant. Will remove all moisturizing oils and your soul. O.K it won't remove your soul, but due to aforementioned issues, I am a little biased here.
  • Parfum (or Fragrance): This is a term that is used on packaging and can be a mixture of unlabeled chemicals1. These are totally unnecessary and can irritate your skin. Look for fragrance-free products.
  • Linalool and Limonene: These are on the top risk for allergy reactions on the skin, and they are in most makeup and moisturizing products. Try excluding them if you have facial psoriasis.
  • Natural Oils: Just because an oil is natural (or the label on a cleansing product says natural) does not mean it is safe. Citrus oils are on the avoid list for sensitive skin.2

How beauty products cause irritation

In makeup, common allergens include parabens, Phenoxyethanol, and formaldehyde.3 I get psoriasis under my eyes around a week after trying new mascara- so I know I have a sensitivity to something there that needs further investigation, I suspect it is to arbarol.

Now you may be thinking- Nah, not me. That's fine. I was the same until my sister had to go for a skin allergy test to confirm an allergy to anti-fungal agents so it could be recorded accurately on her medical records. She came back with around 11 skin sensitive reactions she had no idea she had; including linalool and arboral.

Do you suspect that an ingredient could be irritating your psoriasis? Try excluding it and see what happens. It could be life changing (and I sincerely hope it is).

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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