If you have sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis or topical steroid withdrawal it’s likely you’ve tried a hundred different products with little success. Many skin care brands can cause irritation to allergy prone skin so you need to be careful, always check ingredients and ALWAYS patch test before using.
What is skin care testing?
Not to be confused with allergy patch testing, you can test any skincare products safely in your own home. It’s so easy to do, and is advisable when trying any new skincare product. Never slather anything on without testing. If you plan to have a tattoo or get your hair dyed, always patch test as both of these can cause serious and dangerous reactions.
10 tips to patch test skincare products
- Ask for a sample tester pot from the product or brand you want to try out. Many companies will supply these, particularly lovely independent brands.
- Wash or cleanse the area with warm water or cleanser
- Use a tiny drop behind your ear, wrist, behind elbow or somewhere it will not be seen
- You can use something like a cotton bud to apply so it doesn’t come into contact with your hands
- Wash hands after applying test dollop
- Wait for a day or 24 hours to see if you see irritation.
- Bear in mind, when you start using new products, irritation can build up due to ingredients like Limonene, so even if you get a successful patch test, you still might react to build up a product, of after a few uses
- Some products may seem OK but react when exposed to oxygen on your skin
- Learn to listen to your skin, and note any itchiness, redness or irritation
Do not use any product that causes any irritation.
What’s the difference between an allergy and an irritation?
Sometimes people say they are allergic to a skincare product. The chances are they probably aren’t but it’s confusing, because irritation reactions can be serious and painful. Many ingredients in skincare products can be irritating to the skin, even natural things like oils, lanolin, etc.
- Allergy – You can get patch testing done at your local dermatology clinic. They will apply plasters with tiny discs containing small quantities of allergenic or irritant contact allergens. These will be left on for a number of days before the patches are removed. A true allergy will cause a lasting and strong reaction that a dermatologist can determine.
- Irritation – Different things can just cause inflammation on the skin, this doesn’t always indicate a true allergy. It’s still vitally important to work out what causes your skin irritation so be vigilant, always test a small spot and amount before using new products and get to know the ingredients in products you are putting on your skin.
Do you react to loads of skincare products?
You are not alone in this, I’ve been struggling to find suitable skincare products now for YEARS. I try something and it irritates me time and time again. I have given away or thrown away so much skincare, cleansers, emollients, balms etc. It gets so depressing and means we spend a fortune searching; all the while these products often promise the earth, a cure and more. It’s almost now like I’m so triggered even by the thought of trying new things that I’ve stopped accepting samples. I have some favourite brands now and I’m sticking with them.
Do you struggle with irritation to skincare products? What was the worst thing you used? I’d love to hear your comments. Click here for my favourite products for discounts.
You may also be interesting in reading:
- Patch testing for contact allergens explained
- Top ten tips for coping with a nickel allergy
- Why you should never put SLS on skin but SLES is ok!