Today I would like to discuss a fairly sensitive topic. Whether or not your skin is sensitive or allergy prone or whatever it is that’s going wrong up there, you are very scared to try all those beauty products. Now the secret is to identify the right ingredients by obviously consulting your dermatologist or your beautician for that matter and then carefully choosing out the products that won’t cause any allergy or reaction after applying them. While for some, discontinuing their application can make a mess or for others, even after you’ve stopped using the product(s), your skin can remain irritated for days or even months here’s what you can do to calm and help correct your skin.
Be certain you are dealing with an allergic or sensitizing reaction to a product, and not a skin disorder. Many skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, folliculitis (an inflammation of the hair follicle), and reactions to food cause irritated, swollen, red, itchy, flaky or rashy skin. Find what product(s) or ingredient(s) are causing the problem and stop using them. Sometimes this is a simple determination. If you started using a new concealer and within a few hours that area became red, itchy, and swollen, it is clear that the concealer is the problem. Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy. What makes this process potentially difficult is that many skin reactions don’t happen quickly. It may be several weeks or even months or years after you’ve been using a product before your skin has a negative reaction to it.
Further, given the number of cosmetic products women use daily, it is no wonder that pinning down exactly which item caused the problem can be a challenge. To make matters even more complicated, it may not be a single product but the combination of products that caused the problem (maybe the concealer isn’t the problem, but the concealer, foundation, and moisturiser together that caused the reaction). The key here is patience and diligence. Experiment with the item or items you suspect and then see how your skin responds when you discontinue use. Avoid overly abrasive scrubs (such as those that contain aluminum oxide crystals, walnut shells, or pumice), astringents containing irritating ingredients (alcohol and menthol being the prime offenders), toners containing irritating ingredients (alcohol and menthol being the prime offenders), scrub mitts (think Buf-Puf), cold or hot water as well as steaming or icing the skin and even facial masks containing irritating ingredients (watch out for fragrant essential oils and polyvinyl alcohol), loofahs, bar soaps and bar cleansers can also be a cause.
Whether or not you’ve been able to identify the problem product, an over-the-counter cortisone cream can be your skin’s best friend. Lanacort or Cortaid are excellent over-the-counter cortisone creams that are readily available. When cortisone cream is applied to irritated, inflamed skin it “turns off” the reaction that is causing the problem. Once the skin irritation shows up, apply the cortisone cream over the affected area for several days, even after everything seems back to normal. Remember that the skin can hold on to a sensitising or allergic reaction for a long period of time. And don’t be afraid about the short-term use of an over-the-counter cortisone cream. It is the long-term (more than two or three months of consistent use) of cortisone creams that can damage collagen and elastin in the skin. While you are combating the allergic or sensitising reaction do not use any other skin irritants of any kind over the affected area. Fragrances, scrubs, washcloths, AHAs, Retin-A, Renova, benzoyl peroxide, skin lighteners, or other skin-care products with active ingredients can trigger irritation and only add to the problem. Avoid saunas, steam, hot or cold water, sweating (think cooking over a hot stove), or rubbing the affected area, all of which can help re-trigger the reaction.
Here are some surprising facts on why irritation is so bad for your skin, whether it is sensitive or not; chronic, daily irritation steadily breaks down substances (such as collagen) your skin needs to stay smooth, firm, and healthy. Irritation impairs skin’s ability to heal and hold on to vital substances it needs to look and act younger.
For those with oily skin, using irritating ingredients stimulates nerve endings at the base of the pore that, you guessed it, trigger more oil production! Whether you see the effects of irritation or not, it can be silently and invisibly happening beneath your skin. You’ll see its effects years later in the form of uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, and general “problem” skin. Using irritating ingredients can cause otherwise normal, healthy skin to become sensitive and unusually reactive. If matters aren’t improving after four to six weeks, you should seek professional help. See our dermatologist for an evaluation. If you suspect that you are having a serious allergic reaction (in the form of hives, extremely swollen skin and eyes, or red patches over the skin that feel warm or tingle), consult with our physician to discuss the option of taking an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl to stop the condition.
All in all by avoiding products which are fragrant free prove to be fruitful for avoiding allergic reactions. Fragrance is the most common culprit in such reactions, and both natural (think essential oils) and synthetic fragrance are troublesome. So be wise and invest in good products which would give you long lasting results instead of a temporary fix.
Have a good day.
Redah Misbah Qureshi
Depilex – Beauty Clinic & Institute