You’ve been looking forward to your spa visit for weeks, and you don’t want to ruin a good thing by having a reaction to one of the products. How likely is it that your pampering session will end in an itchy disaster…or worse?
If You Don’t Know – Ask!
If you suddenly panic that the body wrap you’ve been looking forward to might set off an attack of hives, you need to make sure that you speak to someone at the spa or salon who will reassure you about the ingredients – or advise you to change your treatment so something less likely to set you off. Most spas do offer hypoallergenic and even all-natural organic product ranges, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something on the menu that will suit sensitive skins.
Ask the therapists about the products they use and if you know you’re a sensitive soul, find out if they stock a hypoallergenic product range. If you live close to the salon or spa you’re visiting, it could be worth just going in beforehand and asking if they will let you have some patch tests done on small areas of skin.
Serious allergic reactions to beauty products are thankfully rare, but if you have a tendency to react to cosmetic ingredients, you’re not alone. It’s suggested that as many as 10% of people will experience a reaction to a beauty product at some point.
When Massages Go Bad
There’s nothing better than a soothing massage to make you feel good – but the essential oils used in most massage treatments can be seriously irritating. All essential oils are powerful – they are concentrated essences of herbs and plants, so they must be diluted properly into a carrier oil and never applied directly to your skin.
Genuine allergic reactions to pure essential oils are also rare, but it makes sense to avoid anything you know might cause you a problem. If you know you have a nut allergy, make sure that you tell the therapist in advance – nut oils such as sweet almond oil are commonly used as carrier oils, but there are so many options that there will always be something you can use instead. If you’re unsure, and you haven’t used a particular oil before, ask if you can have a patch test before your massage.
Spa Pool Predicaments
It’s one thing being sensitive to ingredients in a product used in a spa, but what if you find you’re actually allergic to the relaxing, soothing bubbles in the Jacuzzi? Some people react to the chemicals used to treat swimming pool water – chlorine or bromine. Bromine is the chemical of choice for spas, mainly because the smell of chlorine isn’t exactly conducive to a therapeutic spa experience.
The best way to avoid skin reactions to pool chemicals is to make sure you spend enough time in the shower after your soak. Washing them off as soon as possible should minimise the chances of any skin sensitivities, and leaving strong chemicals on your skin for prolonged periods also makes it more likely that they will get absorbed by your skin.
If you find that the smell irritates your breathing, you could find that your symptoms ease in spas with well ventilated pool areas. Some people with asthma simply can’t tolerate the fumes, and if that’s the case for you, all you can do is avoid the wet area.
Salon and spa employees all usually have first aid training, and should be well versed in what to do if there is a serious allergic reaction to anything they use. If you know you’re prone to allergies, apart from taking these precautions, the only thing you can do is make sure you take antihistamines and hydrocortisone cream along with you, and if you have them for serious allergies, remember your Epipen and asthma inhaler. You’re unlikely to need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry…