I recently received an email from a customer in New York that I think will speak to a lot of women who suffer with chronically red skin. Pam Williams of Valparaiso, Indiana writes:
"I am 45 years old and I have hardly ever worn makeup. I still have my natural hair color and I have honey colored eyes. Unfortunately, my face is red most of the time because of salicylate sensitivity. I can eat something low in it and still get flushed or even come in contact with something cooking and I get red. You can only imagine what happens when I place a product containing salicylate directly on my skin! I am sick and tired of being red all the time and I am ready to try out some make-up options. Could you recommend a natural-looking product I could wear that would cover the redness? I have some acne scarring as well from many years ago. I would appreciate any help. I would like to start wearing a little make up, but I am clueless."
Pam has described a classic case of salicylate sensitivity or salicylic acid intolerance… and she is well ahead of the pack by even making the connection between her redness and the sensitivity to salicylate. Most individuals who suffer from salicylate sensitivity never truly diagnose their condition. They simply attribute their red completion to sensitive skin and genetics.
Yes, your skin is sensitive and that sensitivity is often genetic, but more specifically, your skin has developed an adult-onset allergic reaction to salicylate acid. Like most adult onset allergies, the reaction doesn’t occur right away. Instead, the individual is exposed to the irritant repeatedly over a long period of time, until the immune system is eventually over-whelmed, triggering the allergic reaction. We see this sort of adult onset allergy happen with everything from red wine to nuts.
The bad news is, salicylate is an ingredient that is just about everywhere… shampoo, lotion, make-up, mouthwash, toothpaste, aspirin-type medications and yes, even food. While it is often manufactured synthetically, it can be found naturally in botanicals, so that even "natural" or "organic" products can trigger reactions. And a ruddy complexion is only one of the possible symptoms. Salicylate sensitivity can also cause asthma and allergy-like symptoms, including headaches, shortness of breath, nasal congestion and skin rashes or hives. It can also lead to the swelling of hands, feet or face as well as stomach pain.
If you suffer from chronic redness tied to salicylate sensitivity and are looking for a natural-looking make-up that will camouflage the redness without making it worse, I recommend a salicylate free mineral make-up. Mineral make-up is a fantastic option when you are looking for a product with controllable coverage. Cleure’s Loose Mineral foundation, for example, provides long lasting, yet lightweight coverage. For red complexion, a yellow-based shade would be better suited, instead of a pink base. The powder blends easily into the skin creating a gauzy glow that not only covers the red, but also blends away fine lines and imperfections. Cleure Rice Veil has a natural looking, shine-free finish, which will be especially helpful to Melanie as shine can accentuate acne scars. If you are sensitive, it’s everything you should look for in a sensitive skin care product; it’s non-irritating and non-comedogenic, and it’s free of salicylate, fragrance, dye, parabens, preservatives, talc and corn starch.
Of course, non-irritating makeup is just the beginning. In order to address the root cause you will need to also actively seek out products that are salycylate-free, starting in the bathroom, where the majority of the culprits dwell. To find out more about living a salycylate free lifestyle, read the many articles in our Health Info section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call directly 1-888-883-4276 (U.S.) or 1-805-981-7600 (International). I would be happy to help.
About the Author: Dr. Flora Stay is a wellness expert, author, speaker, practicing dentist and professor at the University of Southern California. She first introduced her SLS-free toothpaste line in 1993. Unprecedented demand for SLS-free products impelled the Cleure line to also offer salicylate-free personal care products, including hair care, skin care and makeup.