Allergies to fragrances & medicinal plants

Back to nature - more and more people follow this trend and opt for ointments, creams and herbal shampoos. They hope that these products are better tolerated than the conventional range. However, some consumers get itchy nodules after using natural cosmetics or herbal ointments. Mostly behind such an unpleasant skin reaction is a contact allergy to the vegetable ingredients of the cosmetic product - a so-called contact dermatitis. The skin reactions range from itching and redness to large-scale weeping rashes.

Contact allergy - a lifelong companion

"For many, it's shocking to see harmless phytochemicals, such as tea tree oil or arnica, cause lifelong contact allergy, but those affected have cause for hope, although there is no cure yet, but the specialist can improve the symptoms and provide valuable tips, such as: the allergy-causing substance can be avoided in the future, "explains Professor Thomas Fuchs, President of the Medical Association of German Allergologists (ÄDA).

Contact allergies are common: in the meantime, about one in ten suffers from it. Top places take on nickel and perfume allergies, with women being affected far more frequently than men.

Perfume allergy - When fragrances make life difficult

Various studies have shown that a high percentage of the population is affected by a fragrance allergy. The triggers are the essential oils contained in plants, which are used for the production of cosmetics and perfumes. Fragrance allergies to cinnamon oil, oakmoss and clove oil are most common. These fragrances are included in many perfumes, deodorants, cosmetics and detergents, among others.

Perfume allergies can be different difficult. Some allergic people already get an eczema if the detergent contains only traces of a particular fragrance. Others are sensitive only to direct skin contact.

Natural remedies and their dangers

Arnica (Arnica montana L) Arnica, one of the most important and oldest medicinal plants, is one of the strongest plant contact allergens. Arnica should be stimulating, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing. Therefore, the ingredients of the plant in both numerous approved drugs as well as in cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoos, etc. can be found. Contact allergies occur especially in the treatment of injuries and sprains with arnica tinctures. If arnica extract is not sufficiently diluted, it may even be toxic.

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) The trendsetter among the eco-substances is tea tree oil. The oil of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is almost treated as a miracle cure. There are countless applications on the internet. It is recommended, for example, for the treatment of injuries, burns, pimples, inflammation and insect bites. But beware: tea tree oil is made up of more than 100 partially toxic substances, and after being taken as drops it has already been poisoned. It is also known that even a brief external application with undiluted tea tree oil can trigger a contact allergy. By contrast, diluted application to healthy skin seems to pose a low risk.

Peruvian balsam (Myroxylon balsamum ) Another important contact allergen is Peru balsam. It is the secretion of the Perubalsambaumes (Myroxylon balsamum ), which is native, inter alia, in Mexico and Panama. As with all natural products, the composition can vary greatly with Peru balsam. The balm is used in medicine (wound remedies, gargles, mouthwashes and cough syrups), in cosmetics (soaps, shampoos, powders and lipsticks), as a flavoring (sweets, baked goods, tobacco, drinks) and in perfumes. Numerous studies have shown that contact allergy to Peru balsam is not uncommon.

Propolis Propolis is a putty resin of plant origin, with which bees seal their canes. The mixture is used for example in acne or eczema. Propolis is used in creams or ointments as well as in the form of drops, tinctures or tablets and is also found in cosmetics such as lotions or lipsticks as well as in toothpaste and mouthwash. It is striking that allergies to propolis increase.

Yarrow (Achilla millefolium) Yarrow is found in many preparations of natural medicine and is increasingly used in cosmetics and herb shampoos and baths. Your allergenic potential is considered to be low to moderate.

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