Allergens and Irritants in Natural Products? Surely Not!

June 15, 2022 3 min read

Allergens and Irritants in Natural Products? Surely Not!

People make the switch to natural products for many reasons, from concerns over specific ingredients, to wanting to use products that are better for the environment. But for some people, in particular those with sensitive skin or chronic skin conditions such as eczema, using natural products can lead to inflammation and irritations.

Despite their “natural” ingredients, natural products can still cause irritated skin, just like any other product. Natural, non-toxic or organic products can still have side effects as they can contain common irritants.

For example, essential oils such as tea tree, lemongrass or lavender are often used as fragrance, and whilst natural, can be common irritants for those with sensitive or broken skin. Coconut oil can cause allergic reactions due to the surfactants and emulsifiers that are added to it.

The idea that everything natural is healthier for us than synthetic products is simply not true. In fact, “the most toxic chemicals to humans are completely natural!” Both natural and synthetic chemicals should be researched and considered on a case by case basis as both natural and human-made chemicals have the potential to harm humans.

At the end of the day, everything (including water!) can be toxic if the dose is high enough.

"All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison."

Paracelsus, 1493-1541 (Swiss Physician)

Regardless of whether it’s a natural product or not, always check the ingredient list before buying anything to avoid any known allergens and irritants. Choose fragrance-free products as much as possible and if you do come into contact with a known allergen or irritant, wash immediately. If you’ve reacted to an allergen or irritant before, you’ll likely continue to react every time you’re exposed to it.

Reactions to watch out for

Dermatitis is the medical term for skin inflammation (irritation). Contact dermatitis is an allergic or irritant reaction that causes a painful or itchy skin rash. Those with sensitive skin or other chronic skin conditions may experience contact dermatitis more frequently.

There are two types of Contact Dermatitis:

  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis where your body has an allergic reaction to an allergen such as a fragrance, botanical, or preservative. It can take up to a few days after exposure to develop an itchy, red rash.
  • Irritant Contact Dermatitis where a painful rash appears quickly in response to an irritating substance, such as a harsh detergent or soap, hair dyes or solvents.

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis

Symptoms can include a skin rash that is red, swollen or blistering, burning, or stinging, flaky or scaling, itchy or painful.

How to deal with Contact Dermatitis

Stop using the product immediately and don’t panic, as most reactions will usually go away on their own a few days after exposure has stopped.

If things don’t start to improve, and your rash blisters, looks infected, goes away and then returns, visit your healthcare provider.

Treatment includes:

  • Avoidance by taking steps to avoid or minimize exposure
  • Anti-itch creams such as corticosteroid creams to help ease inflammation and itching
  • Oral steroids such as Prednisone can relieve rash symptoms
  • Immunosuppressive medications can be recommended in severe cases

Without fragrances or harsh chemicals, Veeda natural period care products are less likely to cause allergic reactions, inflammation, or irritation.

Are Veeda products “free from chemicals” or “chemical free”?

All matter, including us, is made up of chemicals, so it defies science to have a product that is chemical-free. Generally, when products are marketed as “chemical free”, they often mean that they are synthetic-free (or made from only natural ingredients). 

What makes Veeda different is as much about what’s in our products as what isn’t. We don’t include harmful ingredients that are hidden in conventional or organic feminine care.

Consider making a better choice for both your body and the planet by switching to Veeda period care.


Click here to visit our Women's Health resource.

Click here for everything you need to know about using tampons whether you’re a new tampon user or simply want to learn about potential better practices around precautions, inserting, removing and disposing a tampon.


Additional Resources:

Reeser, D. (2013). Natural versus Synthetic Chemicals Is a Gray Matter.


Cleveland Clinic (2019) Contact Dermatitis.

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