With nutrition regularly stripped out of our food through industrial processing, we long for ingredients that resemble their natural state as closely as possible. It makes sense we want our skincare ingredients to do the same thing; to be the rawest, the least refined, to represent the whole plant.
However people with allergies have specific needs. An unrefined plant oil or a water-based plant extract is more likely to contain the pollen and protein residues responsible for triggering allergic reactions.
A current theory suggests food allergies in children and babies initially develop through skin contact. According to Allergy UK, research shows that a breakdown of the skin barrier can lead to exposure of allergens via the skin, and that this may result in sensitisation and development of allergy. This is particularly important when choosing products for children who have eczema. There are some well meaning products on the market aimed at this vulnerable group which simply aren't suitable, such children lotions and soaps based on goats milk - despite dairy being a common allergen.
It has to be said though that there isn't a magic list of ingredients that can be avoided to guarantee a product is non-allergenic.
Allergens are more of a sliding scale from rare to common, with things like the fragrance allergens highlighted by EU regulations being amongst the most common. Avoiding these may make an allergic reaction less likely, what it won't do is rule it out.
Some ingredients may remain below the radar if they're not ones commonly included in cosmetics, yet the rate of allergic reaction may increase if it then becomes more popular. The allergenic potential of ingredients such as the coconut derived Caprylhydroxamic Acid or the synthetic preservative MI were not obvious until they were in wider circulation and a large group of people were applying products containing them to their skin on a regular basis. Some may use a product many times or for many years before the immune system reacts, creating an allergic response, which will then usually become worse with repeated exposure.
In our formulas we select ingredients and oils with the lowest history of allergic reaction based on current data, and reduce the exposure to plant pollen and proteins generally. While we can't guarantee that no one will have an allergic reaction; what we can do is go beyond avoiding just the most common allergens, picking up a wider range of the spectrum, giving those of you with allergies better choices for your skin.