So you’ve used something on your face that has made you look like the red-faced angry emoji? Or in my case, a lizard person.
Last week, I used a sheet mask from a Korean brand that I picked up on in a whim in Topshop. The mask claimed to be hydrating and soothing. Though maybe that was a mistranslation and they really meant to say ‘not hydrating in the slightest’. As a result, I was left with very angry/sore/tight skin. This allergic reaction is a form of contact dermatitis which causes dry, inflamed and cracked skin. Fun, right?
The first time I had such a reaction, I didn’t really know what to do except phone my mum. But over the years, I have had a few reactions when trying out new skincare products but have learnt what will soothe my skin and how to treat the reaction.
Keep reading to learn how to soothe your skin after an allergic reaction.
First and foremost, you need to keep your face moisturised. After you’ve had an allergic reaction to skin care, the skin’s epidermis will become dry and cracked. You need to replace the moisture lost and create a barrier to prevent further irritation. Rather than use regular moisturisers, which often contain fragrance, I will use emollients and heavier creams which will really soothe the skin.
During the day, I use Bioderma Cicabo Creme, a soothing repairing cream designed to restore, relieve and purify irritated damaged skin. This isn’t as heavy as your traditional emollient cream – which is why I use it when out in public. I take this with me in my bag and will re-moisturise throughout the day when needed.
As soon as I am home, however, I whack on the heavy duty stuff. Anyone with skin conditions, such as eczema, will be familiar with Diprobase. Diprobase is often prescribed for skin conditions as its an occlusive emollient which means it aims to restore the sebum within the skin in an attempt to slow any water loss. This is very thick and slightly oily which is why it is amazing for replenishing dry skin.
Another skin saviour is the Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré Moisturiser which is both nourishing and versatile. This cream has a creamy milky consistency which can be used as a moisturiser, primer, cleanser and mask. Not only does it smell amazing but it helps accelerate cell renewal to help sooth the dryness.
A-lo(v)e aloe vera. Aloe vera is the true skin saviour. Sunburn? Aloe vera. Dry skin? Aloe vera. Angry rashes? ALOE VERA.
Products containing aloe vera are accessible in the skincare isles of most supermarkets but you will find organic aloe products in most health stores. I have been using Doctor Organic Aloe Vera Gel morning and night.
One of my colleagues kindly brought a cutting from her aloe vera plant for me to use which has been an absolute blessing I cut a small section and crush the gel-like stem and use this all over my face. Using aloe vera in its truest form will truly soothe and calm angry skin and one stalk is enough for over a week. I can definitely see myself buying an aloe vera plant of my own for future skin dilemmas.
This may raise eyebrows. Creams such as hydrocortisone, contain steroids called corticosteroids – not to be confused with anabolic steroids – which are used to treat swelling, itching and irritation. Hydrocortisone is a useful product for mild eczema and rashes.
It is not recommended to use steroid creams over long periods as it can thin your skin. The skin on your face is already thin so the general consensus is to not use steroids anywhere near your face. The only time you should ever use them on your face is if you are suffering a contact dermatitis reaction from a chemical or product. Hydrocortisone is the mildest of steroids, whilst it is prescribed by Doctors, you can also buy it over the counter at any Pharmacy. I definitely wouldn’t recommend using anything stronger than Hydrocortisone on your face and I would consult a Doctor if it is your first time having this reaction to a product.
Use once or twice a day, morning and night, for up to a week to relieve symptoms of dry, cracked skin but do not use for longer.
Keep It Cool
Keeping the skin cold will help with any tenderness and reduce swelling. A cold compress is simple and effective – just dampen a face cloth and apply it.
Avène Thermal Spring Water is wonderfully soothing and particularly recommended for those with sensitive skin or skin irritations. I really love this spring water as it’s so soothing and can be used for a multitude of things. This is instant relief in a can.
Unfortunately for me, the reaction from the sheet mask surrounded my eyes. The skin around your eyes is very thin so I am very hesitant to put any heavy creams near the area. To calm the area and to help with the irritation, I have been using a gel eye mask. Chill in the fridge for around half an hour, stick on your favourite podcast or a zen playlist and relax for 20-30 minutes with the mask on. I have been using the Anatomicals Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer gel mask – my gal Buffy would definitely approve.
When you suffer from an allergic reaction, your body produces histamine, a natural immune reaction which can react in inflammation and rashes. Antihistamines will help relieve these symptoms. People commonly take antihistamines for hay fever but maybe don’t think to take them for other allergic reactions. I often take them when my eczema is particularly bad as it will relieve the itching. It may not do much for the outward reaction but it will stop you from making it worse by scratching.
When you first notice the reaction, it is a good idea to take Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory non-steroidal pain killer, this will help with the stinging and make the worst of the reaction feel a little more bearable.
Let Your Skin Breathe
This is the most obvious tip but maybe the most difficult to follow. When your skin is dry and inflamed, you need to let it breathe and smother it in emollients. This means not wearing any makeup whilst you treat it. My skin has been so sore and angry looking – with people actually commenting its redness – leaving me incredibly self-conscious. I’ve wanted nothing more than to slap on foundation and concealer but this would only irritate my already tender skin.
As your skin’s epidermis begins to repair itself, it will feel tight and will appear flaky. As tempting as it may be, under NO circumstances should you use a scrub. This will only aggravate your skin further. I have learnt this the hard way so you don’t have to.
These tips may be entirely apparent to you all but personally, I found it hard to find all the information in layman’s terms the one place. By no means a dermatologist but I hope this information is helpful to at least someone!
Have you suffered from a reaction to a product recently? What did you use to treat it? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time.
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