What to do after a client has an allergic reaction to a skincare product?

You know the feeling you get when you finally get your mitts on a shiny new product you’ve had your eye on for yonks, only to find out it leaves your skin feeling like a red, irritated, inflamed mess? Gah! It sucks.

Allergic reactions are the absolute pits. And more often than not, you’ll find yourself not really knowing what you’re supposed to do to fix your skin.

How bad have you screwed it up? Why did it happen? Will this be a forever thing? Will you have to THROW OUT YOUR NEW PRODUCT?

So many questions.

But, that’s why you have us! We’re here to help you figure out what to do when your skin has had an allergic reaction, and how to repair it.

How do I know if my skin or a client’s skin has had an allergic reaction?

To find out if you or a client are having an allergic reaction or just a bit of sensitisation to a product, you need to look at a few key things.

Assess your skin’s response, the area in which the reaction is present and how fast the reaction has developed. As well as this, you need to suss out what kind of products you’re using – i.e. what part of your routine has changed? Are you incorporating new products or ingredients?

Of course, this is no easy task, as both adverse and allergic reactions can sometimes intertwine and can be the result of a combination of different things. Tricky!

Often if you’re dealing with an allergic reaction, you’ll notice symptoms such as redness, itching, peeling and flaking skin. Your skin might also feel tight, burning or stinging. Sound familiar?

It’s important to note, however, that these kinds of symptoms don’t necessarily always appear straight away. Often these symptoms will pop up about one or two days after incorporating a new product or ingredient into your routine, depending on how often you’ve applied it to your skin.

Why is this happening to me?

While there can be a few different reasons behind what triggered the reaction in your skin, more often than not there’s a sneaky ingredient that you’re using that really does not agree with your skin type.

And it doesn’t just happen to people with sensitive skin or those that have existing skin issues – it can also happen to folk with no pre-existing skin problems.

When it comes to what kind of ingredients have triggered a reaction in your skin, there’s a long list of things that may cause a reaction. Often the best way to figure this out is to undergo a process called Patch Testing.

However, some of the most common culprits to look out for include things like:

  • propylene glycol
  • benzyol peroxide
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • preservatives
  • parabens
  • sodium laurel sulphate
  • mineral oils.

For a more in-depth look at what kind of ingredients to avoid, head here.

One of the main things to keep in mind, is that it’s not always necessarily a new product that can cause an allergic reaction. Often it may be the fact that a particular ingredient has been used over a long period of time, causing sensitisation.

What’s the best thing to do if skin has an allergic reaction?

First off, it’s obviously best to stop using the offending product or ingredient as soon as possible, yeah? Because if you continue using it, the reaction could worsen. No good.

If your skin is itchy and inflamed, it’s a good idea to seek some professional advice to help identify how you got the reaction in the first place, and what you need to do to calm it down.

As for treating your skin, it is important to focus on strengthening and soothing the skin and making it less reactive.

Switch out your usual skincare products for those specially formulated for sensitive or allergy prone skin.

After a few days, a gentle routine should be introduced that effectively treats individual skin concerns.

And just a heads up: Repairing your skin can take some time, so you may have to stick to this routine for some time, depending on the severity of your allergic reaction. So, don’t expect a quick fix.

If you want a closer look at specific ingredients to incorporate into your routine after you’ve had an allergic reaction, you can find this here.

Is there anything to avoid when skin has an allergic reaction?

Just in case you were skimming and totally missed it, the worst possible thing you can do is to continue using the products that first caused the allergic reaction – so, don’t do this! You’ll only end up causing further damage to your skin.

It kind of goes without saying, but obviously all active skincare ingredients are no go while your skin is on the mend – so avoid using these at all costs. Over-cleansing, physical scrubs and skin treatments such as peels and microdermabrasion should also be avoided.

It’s also a good idea to stay away from really hot water while showering, as this may aggravate your skin further.

Allergic reactions can be tricky to fix at home if you have underlying skin conditions, or severe damage. So, always make sure you seek medical help if you’re experiencing chronically dry, thick, flaky skin.

What’s your go-to Skin Virtue products for smooth, hydrated skin? Share your thoughts with the Skin Virtue team at skincare@skinvirtue.com. This article originally appeared on skinvirtue.com.

Read the current issue of our digital magazine here:

Have your save. What do you think about the way the beauty industry has been handled during the pandemic? Email us at info@professionalbeauty.com.au and we will publish reader letters.

Have an idea for a story or want to see a topic covered on our site and in our pages? Get in touch at info@professionalbeauty.com.au.

Back to top