Today we are answering a super common skincare question - is it ok to use skincare that makes my skin tingle? Is that tingle telling me my skincare is working? Just what exactly is gwanin' on here?

Is it OK if Skincare Makes my Skin Tingle?

In Being Savvy at Skincare by Cheryl Woodman MChem1 Comment

Excitedly opening a new skincare find, slathering that goodness on ya face and 5 seconds later there’s definitely a ‘feeling’, something is tingling away and you’re caught in a catch 22. Does that means it’s ‘working’ or should I be rushing to the sink to wash this stuff off ASAP? AKA, Is it OK if skincare makes my skin tingle? Essh, good question my friend… let’s get to this…

Today we are answering a super common skincare question - is it ok to use skincare that makes my skin tingle? Is that tingle telling me my skincare is working? Just what exactly is gwanin' on here?

What Does A Skin Tingle Feel Like?

Ever used one of those ‘plumping’ peppermint type lip balms or glosses? The ones that make you suddenly VERY aware of yo’ lips. They definitely make your lips feel like they’ve grown to Kimmy.K proportions! Can’t say I saw the same thing when i peaked in the mirror *winks*.

That my friend is the classic skin ‘tingle’.

A skin tingle is like tiny pin pricks that might feel ‘uncomfortable’. A skin tingle is not a burning or stinging sensation that gets real painful, real quick.

What Causes Skincare To Make Skin Tingle?

Skincare that makes your skin tingle like you were trying to balance on a bed made of nails will have a known skin irritant in that bottle. Yup, you heard that right, an ingredient that is a known irritant is needed to make your skin tingle.

When your skin is getting its tingle on, it is actually trying to tell you it’s finding something irritating and would rather you stop it. It’s like your little sis playing, ‘Bob the builder – can we fix it’ on loop, true story ;).

When your skin is being irritated your skin ‘ambulance brigade’ is activated into action. That means a rush of blood and a state of mild inflammation. Have you ever had a ‘dead leg’ moment, the one where you go to stand up and topple over like you were tipsy because you somehow cut off all blood supply to your leg – yeesh! Remember the feeling when your ‘life juice’ flows back through your leg and it goes mega tingly. That’s the same thing happening when your skincare makes your skin tingle.

In skincare it actually has a special name, these guys get called, ‘counter-irritants’. They get that name because they can help relieve inflammation or ‘stagnant’ areas in your skin by causing inflammation elsewhere.

Get this, some skincare will put these counter irritants in the bottle JUST so you ‘feel’ like that potion is working some magic. You can ‘feel’ something, so it must be working right? In reality, most skincare will take weeks if not months to start showing results. This tingling means its working thing is just hearsay. #SkincareMythBlitzed.

Common ingredients that are used to give your skin that tingle are types of mint like peppermint, camphor and menthol.

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Is It Ok If Skincare Makes My Skin Tingle?

The thing to know is this, a counter-irritant works by causing mild inflammation. It’s a bit like that moment when someone ‘negs’ you, do you lower yourself to their level or do you ‘rise above’?

There is absolutely a function for inflammation in our bodies, it happens when something is wrong. Maybe you have an appendix infection, maybe you got hit by a squash ball travelling a bazillion miles an hour (y-ouchy). Whenever your body suffers trauma inflammation is part of the healing process. That is great – go inflammation. The other side of the inflammation coin is this, it places extra temporary stress on that area of your body and can lead to inflammaging.

When your body is in ‘I need help mode’, that 10% inflammation for a 60% increase in healing rate works out. Your SOS went out, your body heard and all is now good. On the other side, when your body is being made to inflame regularly (chronically) and with no mega damage to take care of, those maths stats don’t work out so favourably. It’s like crying wolf TOO many times. In fact, skin conditions like rosacea and acne are characterised by being pro-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation does as much damage as it does healing, sometimes even more.

The more tingly skincare makes your skin feel, the more ‘stress’ your skin is under.

The other part of the skin tingles to remember is skin’s a bit like an elastic band, you can test how much it will stretch over and over again until one day it says, ‘hey, I’ve had enough of this’ and snaps right back attcha. You might not realise the effect of using skincare that makes your skin tingle until the effects, ‘build up’.

Products That Are Too Strong Do That Same Irritation Thing

If you’ve got a skincare find that makes your skin tingle, but it doesn’t have one of those skincare counter-irritants in the bottle, it’s likely that potion is TOO strong for your skin type. That means those irritation/inflammation reactions are a’happening.

This could be a skincare acid like salicylic or glycolic, or a toning product that is hiding a load of alcohol in the ingredients, or even that word ‘parfum’ that’s hiding those counter-irritants like mint under that one word.

If a weaker formula is available, go a step-down. If it’s not my advice is to ditch that find for one that has ‘tender loving care’ instead of ‘tough love’.

Have you ever experienced a tingle from a skincare product and you’re wondering if it’s because of a counter-irritant? Let me know what your skin tingle product was and I’ll come back attcha with a quick ingredient analysis.