Whether you're a skincare junkie or a sensitive skin type, allergic and irritated reactions are a risk... so what should you do when you've had an allergic reaction to skincare? These are the 9 steps you can use to help stop, calm and treat an allergic reaction to skincare http://wp.me/p6LuQS-10L

What to do when you’ve had an allergic reaction to skincare…

In Care For Irritated Skin, Sensitive Skincare by Cheryl Woodman MChem1 Comment

Pretty much every product you put on your skin advises you to do a, ‘patch test’… I mean who has the time for that ‘eh? Especially when you’re super excited to try the new cream you’ve just brought. There’s no shame in this, I’m exactly the same. Health and safety has gone kinda wild these days and every company will always, always advice you to pre-test a product. Not because there’s a strong possibility you’ll be allergic, but to avoid having their behinds sued for giving any kind of ‘advice’ that isn’t extra safe.

So, this time, you’ve used a product and your skin is doing something it doesn’t usually do. Maybe it started tingling, or even stinging and then suddenly became red and inflamed. There are 4 reasons why your skincare might have caused this type of reaction.

Let’s delve into these and the 9 steps you should take to stop the reaction, calm your skin and nurse it back to health.

Whether you're a skincare junkie or a sensitive skin type, allergic and irritated reactions are a risk... so what should you do when you've had an allergic reaction to skincare? These are the 9 steps you can use to help stop, calm and treat an allergic reaction to skincare http://wp.me/p6LuQS-10L

Why You’ve Had an Allergic Reaction to Skincare…

First up my friend, there’s a few different reasons why you might’ve have an allergic reaction to skincare. While they all pretty much look like an ‘allergy’. Sometimes they’re actually irritations, or even chemical reactions that’ve happened on your skin.

If you’re skin’s become red, itchy, inflamed, peely, heated and sensitive, then it’s likely one of the below has happened.

1. You’ve had an allergic reaction to skincare

Yup, this is the one we kinda suspected already ‘eh. An allergic reaction is when your body see’s something in that skincare bottle as an enemy. That means your skin starts to fight it. Skin’s method of fighting is to get all red, angry and inflamed…

2. You’ve used skincare that’s too ‘irritating’ for your skin

Some skincare ingredients are irritating. Seems counter-intuitive ‘eh. Ingredients like Retinol (pro-vitamin A), Glycolic acid, alcohol and even essential oils have an ‘irritant potential’. You might of used these ingredients individually in the past, but when combined, that ‘irritant potential’ was too much for your delicate skin.

3. You’ve used skincare that’s passed its ‘best before date’

I’ve done this! Guilty as charged. What happened?…15 minutes after slathering myself up in this moisturiser (found in the back of the cupboard – oops!) my whole body felt like it was on fire… Skincare products are like food, they go off!

4. You’ve layered skincare products that shouldn’t be used together

Mixing specific skincare ingredients together is like adding chilli powder to a rice pudding. Luckily there are only a couple of key rules you need to remember to layer skincare safely. I’ve de-science-d them in this free, quick and easy downloadable guide to help you avoid these kinds of allergic reactions. Get your free copy here.

What to do When you’ve had an Allergic Reaction to Skincare

When your body does something you didn’t expect it to do, it can be frightening. ‘N not just for you ‘eh *winks*… we know the neighbour tried to hide that shocked face, but we definitely saw the, ‘OMGosh your face is really pink’ milli-second expression.

What will make you feel better, is knowing exactly how to take control when your skin does have an allergic or irritated reaction. With that said my friend, these are the 9 things you should do to appease and treat skin that’s had an allergic reaction to skincare…

1. Wash your Face with Cool Water

Priority no.1. Get that stuff off your skin quick. For the first few washes use nothing other than cool tap water. Hot stuff makes things sink into your skin faster, so avoid any heat at this stage.

After a few washes you can use a mild cream cleanser to remove the final residues of the ‘naughty-step’ skincare product. I’d advise to use this only after you’ve washed with tap water, as all skincare products have the ability to penetrate your skin. That means cleansers and wash products could pull the thing causing your allergy or irritation, more deeply into your skin. #Ouch

2. Pat Skin Dry

Your skin is likely feeling irritated and pretty heated right now. Avoid the urge to leave water on your skin to ‘cool’ it down. Leaving water on skin actually dry’s and irritates skin further… ever licked your lips too many times? If you have you’ll know how chapped that can make ’em.

3. Take an Ibuprofen to Reduce Inflammation

Whether you’re having an allergic reaction or your skin’s been irritated, it will be inflamed. Some of the inflammation won’t even be visible, but the stuff that is will be making your skin go red. While inflammation is the body’s way of fighting ‘bad-stuff’, it can be triggered by things that aren’t actually bad, like that skincare product you’ve just used. Consider taking a dose of ibuprofen to help reduce the inflammation.

4. Consider an Anti-Histamine to Reduce Allergic Response

We mostly think of taking anti-histamine when it’s pollen season and we’ve gotten all sneezy. They work just as well if you’re having any other kind of allergic reaction, like the one you might’ve triggered by using a new skincare product. If your skin reaction is an allergic one, taking an antihistamine will help.

5. Use a Soothing Fragrance Free Moisturiser

After all of the above your skin needs some TLC. You’ll want to use a moisturiser that’s packed full of soothing skincare ingredients. That’s things like aloe vera, colloidal oatmeal, allantoin and bisabolol.

The ‘Honesty – Soothe Facial Comfort Cream’, has all of these ingredients and the ‘First Aid Beauty – Ultra Repair Cream’, has a lovely dose of oatmeal and allantoin. If you are someone who’s suffered from reactions like these in the past, it’s a good idea to have something like these products on hand.

Disclosure; Honesty is a range of skincare I’ve created myself. It was inspired by a gap in the market for naturally based, fragrance free skincare, the perfect combination for sensitive and dry skin types. I literally spent hours searching for products that fit this brief in the past. While it always feels uncomfortable to recommend your own products, I know that these are perfectly suited for skin that’s just had an allergic or irritated reaction.


6. Do not be Tempted to Exfoliate

Often allergic reactions cause peeling of the skin. It happens because skin cells have sacrificed themselves for your protection. Dead skin cells shed, ‘n when you’ve had this time of allergic reaction there’s a lot of them shedding at the same time. While you might be tempted to exfoliate, try and fight the urge as much as possible. Exfoliation is irritating and can cause inflammation of its own.

7. Make a Note of the Skincare Products you’ve Used that Day

Honestly, write it down and while you’re at it take a snap of the ingredients list. It’s so easy to forget in future and if you start to have a few of these reactions, you’ll want to look back and see which ingredients the products have in common, or which products you used on the same day.

 8. Go Simple with Skincare for a While

You know that feeling you get when you’ve just had a headache… it’s gone, but there’s definitely still a headache hang-over there? Well, your skin is the same, once it’s had a reaction to something it’s in a sensitised state. The best way to care for your skin over the next weeks, is to use fragrance free skincare designed for sensitive skin.

Generally that means staying away from anti-aging skincare, skincare that’s designed to exfoliate and high concentration vitamin serums.

Some fragrance-free, sensitive skin friendly skincare brands; First Aid Beauty, Honesty, CeraVe, Cetaphil.


9. Contact a Doctor if the Allergic Reaction Persists

If nothing you do seems to reduce the allergic reaction over the next few days, it’s time to go see the doctor.

Have you had these types of skin reaction before? Did you pinpoint the cause? Let me know you experiences in the comments below…