5 Skin Triggers you may not have considered

It can be frustrating guesswork trying to get to the bottom of a skin reaction and, even in the Pai office, we’ve been guilty of overlooking obvious irritants!

In the midst of springtime, it’s easy to blame seasonal allergies, and hayfever was the first suggestion when Sophie, Executive Assistant, and Meg, Social Media Manager, were suffering mysteriously itchy skin and eyes.

But when the symptoms disappeared over a long Bank Holiday weekend, we realised the problem was a little closer to our desks than we’d thought.

All it took to clear up the problem was a simple change of surface cleaner spray – but finding the culprit of a reaction isn’t always so straight forward.


Here’s 5 skin triggers you may not have considered:

  1. Nail polish

    A fresh manicure can be one of life’s little pleasures – but if you’re experiencing eczema or dermatitis around the eyes or mouth, it may be worth reconsidering your nail polish habit.

    Without even realising it, we’re constantly touching our faces throughout the day – bringing the irritating hardening resins in some polishes in contact with the thinner skin of our face and eyes!

  2. Household cleaners

    Some cleaners are obviously harsh (and carry the warning labels to prove it!), but there are other seemingly innocuous culprits that can also upset our skin.

    Surface cleaner and polish sprays can coat the hands and transfer to the face, causing mysteriously itchy or irritated skin and eyes like it did for Sophie and Meg.

    Try switching to greener alternatives that are transparent about their ingredients or make your own – diluted white distilled vinegar works as a gentler replacement for surface cleaners.

  3. Dryer sheets and fabric softener

    We’ve discussed washing powder as a skin irritant before, but fabric softeners and dryer sheets can also cause itchy, sore skin.

    They often contain a cocktail of potentially irritating ingredients to keep fabric fibres soft and static-free.

    If you’re experiencing rashes predominantly in areas usually covered by clothes, try switching to an unscented, detergent-free formula or consider whether you can do without fabric softener altogether!

  4. Zinc

    Zinc PCA can be great news for your skin, particularly if you have a blemish-prone and sensitive complexion.

    However Zinc Oxide, an inorganic form often found in sun cream, nappy rash cream and mineral makeup, can leave skin red, irritated and itchy in those with allergies.

  5. Synthetic fabrics

    Alongside feeling itchy and hot on sensitive skin, synthetic fabrics can contain fabric additives.Traces of formaldehyde resins (used to make fabrics wrinkle-resistant) and para-phenylenediamine (PPD – used in dyes) can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

    These additives are more common in man-made fabrics, but some wool and linens may also feel rough and itchy against delicate skin.

    Cotton is widely accepted as the best choice for sensitive skin and it’s becoming increasingly easy to find organic cotton, too!

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