Why you may want to ‘skip the scents’ this holiday season

CBS4 This Morning

INDIANAPOLIS — We are now two weeks away from Christmas–prime gift-giving season.

A lot of people will be looking for last-minute gift ideas to package up and send to loved ones.

Some of the most popular and heavily marketed are skin care products.

While there may be some pretty great deals and fantastic gift sets out there for the getting, dermatologists warn it’s important to check the labels.

Skin care products with certain additives for scents like lotions, soaps, perfumes and colognes could cause serious irritation to your skin. Dermatologists like Melanie Kingsley, the director of cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery for IU Health, say this time of year they see an influx of people with dermatitis, rashes, and itchy skin due to products they’ve either bought or were gifted for the holidays.

Many of them were heavy on holiday or seasonal scents and fragrance.

“We commonly see it around the eyes, because the eyes are the thinnest skin. So, it might start around the eyes, if they get itchy, kind of rough, scaly. I always say that could be something in the air, fragrances. And then on the body, certain lotions, perfumes, again they get those scents they just get the skin irritated and if you keep using it the rash just works in overtime,” Kingsley said.

Kingsley adds that another big culprit is candles and air fresheners. She says not only are some people sensitive or allergic to some of the chemicals used to make these products smell good, but this time of year everyone’s skin is more sensitive anyways, potentially making any reactions worse.

“I see it most prevalent because of the weather changes. Everyone’s skin is starting to get dry, we’re taking hotter showers which dries the skin even more. The weather keeps changing, so the skin becomes more compromised. It breaks down, gets drier. And these chemicals get into the skin and irritate you a little more frequently than it would during the summer or warmer months,” she said.

Kingsley’s recommendation is to look for fragrance free, sensitive skin, or limited ingredient products. She also says ceramides and products that contain them help restore and rebuild your skin’s natural barrier. When in doubt, she says stop using a product immediately if you experience any irritation, as the longer you use it, the worse it can get.

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