Treating Dry, Itchy Skin

Amild rash due to itching caused by dry skin.Can you prevent dry skin by using chemical-free skin care products? I worry about a buildup of chemicals on my skin causing acne, dry skin, or skin cancer.

Not all chemicals are harmful; think of sodium chloride (salt, NaCl) – you cannot live without it. Some chemicals, though, are dangerous indeed; think of TNT (dynamite) or the chemical herbicide “Agent Orange” (which causes a kind of acne called chloracne). Some chemicals cause allergic dermatitis in some people but not in others; examples include nickel and paraphenylenediamine (which may be found in some hair dyes). Many cosmetic products are tested for their tendency to cause allergic or irritant contact dermatitis.

When a cosmetic product for the face has been tested to see if it will cause acne, the word “non-comedogenic” will often appear on the label if it passes the test.

By the way, poison ivy is natural and organic – so those two words do not necessarily mean that a particular chemical or product is safe.

Published on 07/13/2011 | Last updated on 12/20/2016