You asked, we answered! This post is the first Featured Question on our blog, but it won’t be the last. If you have a skin care question, leave a comment and ask away. You could be featured on a future post!
Today’s question comes from Michelle on our Atopalm Facebook page. Michelle says, “I have quite a few sensitivities to natural moisturizers, especially shea butter and lanolin. Lately it seems that shea is popping up in everything and is the current go-to moisturizer in the beauty world. It seems like lots of “natural” products cause my already extremely dry skin to be irritated, and when I try and stay away from creams and lotions that contain parabens, petroleum based products and heavy perfumes, it leaves me with few affordable options. What do you suggest for a person with sensitive skin who wants to hydrate and protect it without spending a fortune to find the right products?”
Thank you, Michelle, for your well-worded question! It’s true that many people experience sensitive reactions to harsh chemical skin care ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and benzoyl peroxide, but it’s not uncommon for one to experience reactions to natural ingredients as well.
The fact is, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s for you. You may have a mild sensitivity to it, or a full-blown allergy. Either way, your skin will end up irritated, red, and uncomfortable. Here’s a look at the natural moisturizers that Michelle mentioned, and what you can use to avoid an uncomfortable reaction.
Shea butter sensitivities are not common, but they are also not unheard of. Those who are sensitive to it may experience extreme itching and/or redness. Shea butter comes from the nut of the shea tree; therefore, it is in fact a tree nut oil. Because of this, those with nut allergies may consider avoiding the use of shea butter.
However, shea oil contains very little protein, which is what causes a reaction in those sensitive to tree nut oils or shea butter in general. Because of this, a true reaction is rare. If you suspect that shea butter is causing a reaction in your skin, I would recommend cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter, as the name suggests, comes from the cocoa bean — just like chocolate! Cocoa bean allergies are very, very rare, which makes it a great choice for sensitive skin types, or those with many allergies. Cocoa butter is a wonderful moisturizer that absorbs easily and contains a rich dose of antioxidants.
Michelle, I hope this gives you a few new options for your skin care routine, and that it helps others overcome their natural moisturizer allergy!
One last note on cocoa butter: many cocoa butters are processed in a plant that also processes nuts. If you have a nut allergy or a suspected sensitivity to shea butter, you’ll want to ensure that your cocoa butter has not been cross-contaminated with these allergens.
Lanolin sensitivities are even more common than a shea butter allergy. Anyone can be allergic to lanolin, but you’re more likely to be sensitive if you have a wool allergy, since lanolin is actually a byproduct of the wool of animals like sheep.
Lanolin is a good moisturizer and skin softener. It also helps to prevent water loss, which keeps skin hydrated. It is a favorite in products for dry skin because it immediately helps skin feels smoother and more comfortable.
Lanolin sensitivity usually presents itself with a rash or redness, but users can also experience swelling, nasal congestion, and itchiness. If you experience a lanolin allergy, I would recommend replacing your lanolin products with ones containing Atopalm’s patented MLE technology.
MLE provides a similar function to lanolin, making it a great replacement. The bonus is that MLE works better than lanolin, since it actually mimics the skin’s natural lamellar structure, thereby protecting the skin and preventing water loss as the skin is meant to. For more information, check out our page on Atopalm’s MLE Technology.