Categorized | Health

How To Test Skin Care Products Before Use

skin care, skin

With so many skin care products available, including cleansers, moisturizers and cosmetics, it can be difficult to know which products to choose.

While understanding your skin type can help you choose products formulated for you, it’s still possible that you’ll end up with a product that is irritating. Sometimes, an ingredient, such as one of the preservatives, can trigger a condition called allergic contact dermatitis, which can cause your skin to become red, itchy and swollen.

Board-certified dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology say testing products on several small areas of your skin first can help predict whether you’ll experience a negative reaction.

“There are more than 15,000 allergens that can cause allergic contact dermatitis, and  products are a common cause,” said board-certified dermatologist Bruce A. Brod, MD, FAAD. “Even products labeled ‘hypoallergenic,’ ‘natural’ or ‘clean’ can cause a reaction, so it’s helpful to test skin care products before using them as you would normally.”

To test a skin care product, Brod recommends the following tips:

Apply the product to a test spot twice daily for seven to 10 days. Choose a quarter-sized spot on your skin where the product won’t be rubbed or washed away, such as the underside of your arm or the bend of your elbow. Use the normal amount and thickness you would use as if you were applying the product regularly.

Leave the product on for as long as you would normally. If you’re testing something that you would usually wash off, like a cleanser, keep it on for five minutes or as long as the instructions say.

If after seven to 10 days you don’t have a skin reaction, such as red, itchy, or swollen skin, go ahead and use the product.

Keep in mind that some ingredients, such as retinol and glycolic acid, can irritate your skin, particularly if it is sensitive. This is normal and temporary.

If you develop a reactiongently wash the product off as soon as possible, and don’t use it again. Apply a cool compress or petroleum jelly to relieve your skin, if needed. If your reaction to a product is severe and not relieved with cool compresses or petroleum jelly, you may need to see a dermatologist to help manage your symptoms.

“Sometimes, discovering the cause of irritation is easier said than done,” said Brod. “If it is difficult to pinpoint the exact ingredient causing a reaction, talk to a board-certified dermatologist, who can help. You may need a medical test called patch testing to help find out what is causing your irritation.”

Once the cause has been identified, said Brod, it’s important to avoid it. For example, if fragrance in products is causing your skin to react, he said, opt for products that are labeled “fragrance free.” Remain cautious with certain products that are labeled “unscented” or have plant-based botanical ingredients, as these products may still have fragrance-related ingredients. — Newswise

This video is part of the AAD’s “Video of the Month” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails.

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