Understanding Reactions to Skincare Products

Let’s begin with a misconception: “A genuine skincare product will never cause a reaction”. That is simply and completely false.

There are many factors that can contribute to skin reactions and sensitivities. These may be present in genuine products, natural skincare products, or even products “certified” to be gentle on the skin.

MerryDerma always recommends patch testing products before wider use. Also, always consult a qualified dermatologist if any significant doubt about any skin issue – we will never recommend or provide any diagnoses, and do not encourage self-diagnosis either.

Skin reactions usually occur for one of two reasons: because the product is not suited for your skin type; or because you have an allergy or sensitivity.

Main Causes of Skin Reactions to Different Products

Mismatch to skin type

Not every product is suited for one’s skin type. The product that you purchase may not work because of your skin type. Everyone has different skin types, and they may react differently to the same product. It is important to understand what your skin type is before purchasing a new product. Oily skin, dry skin, acne prone skin, skin with known sensitivity – each can have its own issues. And combinations of these types are trickiest – always do your workup before purchasing.

An allergic reaction or sensitivity to some ingredient(s) in the product

Almost all skin care products contain some type of preservatives, such as parabens or formaldehyde-releasing agents, to prevent bacterial growth. These preservatives have been shown to trigger allergic reactions in a small percentage of the population. Some products (specially the ones designed for sensitive skin, or the dermatologically tested ones) are designed to reduce the risk of these reactions, but no product will ever be guaranteed to be 100% safe.

How to Reduce Chances of Reactions Related to Your Skincare Products

Sensitive skin is more vulnerable to irritation, so it’s important to avoid using any skincare products that contain harsh chemicals. Always look for dermatologically / clinically tested products. Alternately, examine the list of ingredients to avoid as many of the well known irritants (fragrances, *phthalates, parabens, lanolins, sulphates, formaldehydes, etc.)

If your skin does react badly after use, it’s important to differentiate between an allergic reaction (which is generally more immediate and rapid, with aggressive symptoms), or intolerance (product simply not suiting you). Do not introduce products into your routine suddenly, instead, be gradual – and one at a time, so you can rule out different products. If you see reactions, discontinue or decrease use, and monitor accordingly.

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