5 Ways to Get Rid of a Skin Reaction Fast
There are many reasons why products cause a reaction on the skin. Fragrances and preservatives are the top two allergenic offenders to the dreaded beauty product related skin allergy. Contact dermatitis can come in many forms and it’s never pretty, ranging from tiny bumps all over the skin to red hot sunburned looking skin. Expired products can cause infection, blistering, rashes, dryness, dermatitis and more. Some vitamin A products and using too much can cause "purging", dryness, cracked skin, irritation and sun sensitivities leaving you vulnerable to more inflammatory conditions and opportunistic infections.
So, you already ruined your skin using topical products that were supposed to help. Now how do you fix it and what products can you trust?
#1 This tip will sound obvious but stop using the product that caused the reaction. Only until the source of allergy is taken away will the skin be able to calm down and heal. If there are multiple suspects for your skin allergy you can test them individually on the inside of your elbows or behind the ears. If redness or itching occurs, you’ll know which product it was. Sometimes it’s hard to sus out which product started the reaction especially if you started a whole new skin care regimen with 5 different products at once. That’s why you should always test a single product for a week and add upon only if the skin is doing well. If you have extremely reactive and sensitive skin, you can always test on the arms or behind the ears before your face. There have been countless times that a client has come into the clinic with tiny bumps all over the face and they just started using neem or other strong plant-based ingredients a week before. Different plants can cause different allergies for different people. It’s something to be aware of because “organic” and “vegan” doesn’t always equal safe. Most of the allergies I’ve seen have been from plants as most of my clients already avoid fragrance, petroleum, mineral oil, dyes, parabens, phthalates, SLS, etc.
#2 Use topical anti-inflammatory products. If you have a 1-2% hydrocortisone cream (that’s not expired), use that topically until the irritation calms down. If it’s 2% you can mix it with half of your regular moisturizer to bring down the strength for use on the face. Make sure you don’t use it past 5 to 7 days or you risk thinning the skin. You can also see your doctor for a different topical anti-inflammatory. One product we sell is by PCA SKIN called CliniCalm 1%. It was designed to relieve redness, itching and irritation from topical allergens. It can be used safely up to 7 days.
#3 Pull out the irritant from the skin. Think clays and charcoal which have the amazing ability to pull out toxins and excess oils from the skin. We don’t want to over dry the skin because irritated skin will have an already compromised barrier. To keep the barrier intact use a clay mask which doesn’t dry. My all-time favorite non-drying clay mask is “Clay Mask” by Alitura. You can find it for sale on this website. It can safely be used every day. Pull out the irritant from deep in the skin so the inflammation can clear up faster.
#4 Repair the barrier. If the irritant has caused excessive dryness, flaking and cracking you will need to repair the acid mantel layer and replenish the natural moisturizing factors as well as the essential fatty acids. This will help return the balance to the natural flora on the skin. If you don’t repair your skins’ barrier you can be leaving it open to potential infections, more break-out and more bumps. You’ll want hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, tons of humectant ingredients and ceramides from things like evening primrose, rose hip, shea butter, sunflower oil, safflower and other linoleic rich oils. Peptides that are skin identical can really help as well. And trapping these ingredients on to the skin so they don’t escape by using an emollient is highly advisable. Things like squalene, jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter, sunflower oil, cocoa butter and baobab oils are all incredible emollients and are rich in phytosterols. They will heal and bring the skin back from dehydration.
#5 Sweat. Once the skin is on the way to healing, no longer red and the barrier is repaired, sweat like it’s nobody’s business. Get into an infrared sauna found in many high-end health conscious spas or get into your local gym’s sauna room. Infrared has many other benefits for skin however. Getting a deep sweat after a good workout will help get the rest of the toxins and skin irritants out of the skin. Make sure to wipe off the sweat with a clean towel while in the sauna and to gently wash the skin after to keep the toxin or irritant from reabsorbing.
Below are a few examples of what contact dermatitis from a skincare product can look like on different people's faces. The last face is mine. Hopefully this doesn't happen to you, but if it does at least you will know what to do. And in Bun Bun's case what not to do. Do not pick at any bump on the skin or it will spread.