The excitement of trying out a fancy new skincare product is only met by the disappointment you feel when it inevitably makes your skin sting and red . However, irritating products are not completely prohibited, it turns out. For most people, their skin will adapt to these products over time – and dermatologists will have some useful tips to make the process a little simpler.
Here are the main culprits.
"There are many over-the-counter and prescription-only products that may cause patient confusion", Nada Elbuluk MD, Assistant Clinical Assistant Dermatologist and Director of the Skin of Color Center and Pigment Clinic, USC Keck School of Medicine says SELF. Although the response potential differs widely from person to person, it states that the most commonly associated with irritation products are those used to treat acne and for anti-aging treatment. In particular, topical retinoids, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide cause irritation when patients initially begin to use them. Jennifer Mancuso MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the University of Michigan, tells SELF. Certain acids, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, can also cause irritation and dehydration.
Physical Peeling Products – including peels and rotating Clarisonic brushes – can do the same thing when used too often MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, tells SELF.
And what about these reactions? We're talking about redness, peeling, scaling and peeling that can be mild, moderate or strong. Fortunately, in most cases, you can use your skin more easily, so they eventually do not cause any reactions.
This is what dermatologists suggest to make the process a little easier.
It is important to ensure that your irritation is not the symptom of an allergic reaction. If your reaction is related to allergies, it may cause redness (beyond the range in which you used the product), itching, pain, and some dandruff that usually occurs hours to weeks after the product is used, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains . And if you continue to use the product you are allergic to, cracked or thickened skin may occur in this area.
However, if you only have a mild (non-allergic) reaction, there are some simple ways to make the process on the skin less intense.
Start small. If you are using a prescription product, it should contain a detailed guide to getting you started, based on your individual case. Elbuluk says, however, dermatologists generally recommend starting a potentially irritating product (such as a retinoid) for at least two weeks two or three days a week to see how your skin reacts. It's also important not to overuse, Dr. Ogunleye, suggesting that her patients only keep a pea-sized amount for her face or even less.
Go slowly. After that, if your skin tolerates Dr. Mancuso says she will recommend that her patients increase their consumption to three to four times a week, and then every other night or even every night for several weeks. But not everyone can grow that much – or at all. "Everyone is different," she says. For most people, it takes a few weeks to a month for their skin to fully adapt to the product. "However, some people suffer from long-term irritation and can only use these topical treatments twice a week." And for others, they are simply not a sustainable option.
Use a moisturizer. While adjusting, it may be helpful to mix the potentially irritating product with a moisturizer to dilute and lighten the skin, Dr. Mancuso. Or you can be sure that you will be applying your moisturizer – ideally a gentle or "mild" – directly after using the other product, suggests Drs. Ogunleye in front. If you really want to be careful, you can even apply your moisturizer, apply the other product and apply another layer of moisturizer, Dr. Mancuso.
Use it only on dry skin. Some people notice this. Mancuso says that using a retinoid or other irritating product directly after showering or washing the face with warm water causes more irritation because the heat helps loosen and purify the pores. Although this is generally a good thing, it can also make your face a little more susceptible to irritants, so it is recommended to wait at least 30 minutes after a warm shower before applying an irritating product.
Find out when you know something just is not for you.
Unfortunately, even after all the problems, some products are not meant for your unique skin – and that's fine! If your irritation does not improve after a couple of weeks of using these tactics, or if you only use one product once and notice a lot of irritation, it's time to consult a specialist. "Listen to your skin," says Dr. Ogunleye.
Your dermatologist will consider your primary concerns and your individual skin type when recommending a product. You can also help find out if the side effects of something annoying are really worth the potential benefits. For some people, the treatment of acne is enough, for example, to push through the side effects of a topical retinoid. Others, however, may decide that the long-term anti-aging effects are insufficient to justify their use. "It's always a balance," says Dr. Mancuso.
Also remember that irritation is a side effect – not necessarily a sign that the product works. This means that adding more products will not give you faster results, but only cause more problems. "Less is more, especially when it comes to things like wrinkles and acne," Dr. Ogunleye. "People are very anxious that they go away, and they smear many of these types of products on their face, and these products are not meant for cockroaching."
And your dermatologist will help you find your way exactly these problems. So if you have questions, this should be your first call. "Dermatologists help patients," says Dr. Elbuluk. "When someone tries something and feels that their skin is getting irritated or worse, it's really good to just let it judge, and that takes away much of the guess work."