Reasons Your Skin Might Be Reacting To Your Skincare Products

Often times, people say their skin is “reacting” to their skincare products shortly after they begin to use them, however, that might not be a reaction. In this post, we will be discussing some reasons your skin might be reacting to your skincare products.

5 Reasons Your Skin Might Be Reacting To Your Skincare Products

  1. Skin Purging : This is a sudden appearance of rashes or breakouts in areas you typically break out. It can occur when you introduce products with ingredients that increase skin cell turnover into your skincare routine.

This increased skin cell turnover causes accelerated shedding of dead skin cells causing pre-existing clogged pores (microcomedones) to rise to the surface faster, triggering breakouts in areas you typically break out. 

Some people mistake this for a skin reaction to products because it can last from several days to weeks and this “reaction” is not necessarily bad.

A breakout, on the other hand, is a sudden appearance of rashes in areas you don’t typically break out and this can occur when you introduce products with and without ingredients that increase skin cell turnover into your routine.

  1. Sensitized Skin: This occurs when there is a skin reaction triggered by lifestyle, pollution, skincare products, etc. It can affect anyone regardless of skin type and age.

*Read: Do You Have Sensitive Or Sensitized Skin?

When sensitized skin is triggered by skincare products, it could be as a result of introducing active treatment ingredients in a skincare routine. Examples of such ingredients are chemical exfoliants (AHAs , BHAs) such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, salicylic acid, topical antibacterial agents such as Benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids such as tretinoin commonly known as Retin-A.

Chemical exfoliants are acids that get rid of built up dead skin cells and excess sebum from the pores and surface of the skin thereby increasing skin cell turnover. 

BHA (salicylic acid) breaks down the bonds between cells while AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc) cause the cells themselves to detach.

Excessive use of these acids especially in high concentrations can irritate the skin. This can manifest as redness, stinging or burning sensation with application of the mildest skincare products , excessive dryness, itching or even peeling of the skin.

Typically, clients say they have sensitive skin following use of a product that sensitized their skin especially if they experienced any of the above symptoms. These symptoms can also be experienced following excessive physical exfoliation or use of an exfoliant with very gritty particles capable of causing micro-tears on the skin.

Topical retinoids are another group of ingredients that can cause irritation to the skin. They increase skin cell turnover which simply means constant shedding of dead skin cells and subsequent replacement with new cells so pores aren’t clogged with dead skin cells.

This reduces the formation of comedones, excess sebum production thereby helping with acne overtime. With the formation of new skin cells, the skin is also more sensitive to sunlight.

  1. Wrong Product For Your Skin Type: If your skin is normally dry and tight, using too many acid-based products could make the situation worse. For example, using foaming cleansers with harsh ingredients capable of stripping the skin’s acid mantle would make your skin drier and this can also result in oilier skin. 

Your oil glands will produce more oil to make up for this dryness, which then leads to breakouts/rashes. This typically happens when there are lots of oil-absorbing skincare products in your routine.

One of the reasons your skin might be reacting to your skincare products is if your have an ongoing inflammation on your skin .

  1. Contact Dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. You can have allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis is when your immune system is involved. This typically happens after you use a skincare product and your immune system mistakenly thinks your skin is under attack. It then springs into action, making antibodies to fight the supposed invader and you eventually get itchy rashes.

On the other hand, Irritant contact dermatitis happens when your skincare product is too irritating or damaging to your skin. It’s not an allergic reaction, instead, you used something that took away the surface oils shielding your skin. The longer that thing stays on your skin, the worse the reaction. This is why this type of dermatitis is more painful than itchy. 

Reasons Your Skin Might Be Reacting To Your Skincare Products

Before and After of a Contact dermatitis case treated at Skin101

  1. A true sensitive skin is caused by a genetic predisposition; meaning, you’re born with it. People with sensitive skin have less efficient epidermal lipid barrier (this is the skin’s protective outer layer). 

This means that this layer can’t effectively block irritants and allergens, making the skin highly prone to reactions such as redness and allergies when it comes in contact with certain types of products and ingredients. 

There are different reasons your skin might be reacting to your skincare products. If you have experienced any of these and would like to discuss more about your skin, schedule a consultation with us and we will take it from there.

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