Sensitive Skin and Cosmetic Intolerance Syndrome

Have you noticed your skin becoming more sensitive and reactive to cosmetics and topicals over time?   To many people and even dermatologists, it may look like rosacea.  But it may, in fact, be cosmetic intolerance syndrome or CIS,  a skin condition coined by Howard Maibach, an expert in dermatoxicology who is a professor at UCSF Department of Dermatology.   He is an expert in contact and occupational dermatitis and has published many studies and books on this subject.   His studies of CIS concluded that this sensitivity was most likely a combination of factors, one being the over-application of topicals containing irritants, usually on a daily basis.  In addition to that, regular exfoliation using acids or manual means can disrupt or thin the skin barrier and allow for deeper penetration of these irritants, accelerating this process even more.

Many cosmetics contain fragrance, dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and essential oils which are potential irritants. The symptoms of irritation may not be immediately visible or apparent, but you may notice after months or years of usage that eventually your skin cannot tolerate familiar creams and lotions like it used to.   After awhile, you may develop a reaction to all skincare products, known as status cosmeticus (A.A. Fisher), the worse form of CIS.  If you are seeing signs of sensitivity, such as stinging, redness, itching, inflammation, rashes after applying skincare or cosmetics, this could be the beginning of CIS and a warning sign that the skin is compromised.  The only way you can stop this from worsening is to scale your product use way back.  In fact, stopping all topicals including cleansers, soaps, moisturizers, toners, sunscreens, makeup, etc. may be necessary until the skin recovers.  It may take weeks or months before your skin returns to baseline, but then you can resume with topicals that are non-irritating, one at a time.  But the key to preventing skin sensitivity in the first place is to never flood the skin with topicals on a daily basis and to avoid applying irritating ingredients on a regular basis.

The 302 RX line is ideal for people who are suffering from sensitive or rosacea-like symptoms, because they contain no fragrance, no essential oils, no irritants, and very few ingredients.   As examples, the 302 Sensitive Cleanser RX has 7 ingredients, the 302 Drops RX has just 4 ingredients.  Go to the cosmetic aisle and compare other skincare products specifically for “sensitive” skin and it will shock you how many of them contain known irritants in them and the long list of ingredients they contain.  If you have sensitive skin and don’t want to do the research to find suitable products, the 302 RX  line contains everything needed to help your skin recover and get back to a healthy state.  I highly recommend this line for sensitive and rosacea skin sufferers.  For more information about the other 302 RX products, go to .

For more information about sensitive skin and CIS, you can read this clinical article discussing the manifestation and recommended treatment of this condition.  It explains the other factors that aggravate this condition and references to several studies:


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