Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Patch Test for Sensitive Skin

Some skin care products turn my face red (left)

Skin care products, especially those purchased from drug stores and department stores, often contain ingredients which can irritate people with sensitive skin (irritant contact dermatitis) or cause allergic reactions in an individual with an allergy to a specific ingredient (allergic contact dermatitis).

For those who either have sensitive skin or who have had a bad experience with skin care products in the past, a skin test before trying new products out is essential. Fortunately, a do-it-yourself skin test is free and easy to do at home.

1. Pick your testing area.

For testing body cremes, lotions, scrubs, soaps, oils, etc., testing is usually done on the inside of the wrist or inside of the elbow. Products for the face are usually tested on the jawline or right below the jawline instead of directly on the face.

2. Make sure the area is clean and free of other products.

3. Apply a small amount of the product to your testing area. Leave it on for 24 hours without wetting, washing or rubbing it off.

3. Monitor the spot to see if any irritation occurs in the form of rashes, swelling, soreness, redness or stinging on the spot.

4. If a reaction occurs, gently wash the product off with water and leave the spot alone until it clears up. If a more serious reaction occurs, see your doctor or dermatologist.

5. If no reaction occurs in 24 hours and you want to be extra careful, reapply the product on the same spot the next day and test for another 24 hours.

If no sign of reaction -- itching, redness or swelling occurs after 48 hours, the product should be safe for you to use.

You can also fax or email your doctor or dermatologist the list of ingredients for a 2nd opinion.

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