Allergic Reactions

I love trying new products, exploring new foods and am always searching for the most advanced ways to reduce the effects of aging.   I’ve learned the hard way that while being adventurous is a positive trait, there are some things to consider before diving in.   It may not seem like a big deal to introduce something new, but adverse reactions can be scary and embarrassing.  

I always start with research.  I want to know it’s purpose, how it interacts in my skin or body,  and understand possible side effects or contra-indications.   And of course any qualified reviews or referrals will help me decide whether I feel confident in trying it personally. 

In a perfect world, the best way to get accurate feedback is to keep other variables the same while introducing a new product to your routine.  If you have a handful of new factors to consider,  dealing with adverse reactions can be frustrating and misleading.   In a controlled study, ingredients or products are isolated to provide accurate correlations of cause and effect.  Rarely in life do we have such a sterile environment.  Thank goodness!  Rather, our worlds routinely consist of fluctuating stress levels, diet quality, water intake and other variables.  Unless the cause and effect are without question,  I always test a product 2-3 times if I am suspicious of it to ensure no other factors are involved.   If I do experience a skin flare-up, I allow my skin to recover (approximately 3-7 days) then I reintroduce the product while keeping all other variables relatively consistent, while eating clean and drinking lots and lots of water.   The best time to check for reactions is first thing in the morning or after wearing all day. 

So how do you know if a product doesn’t agree with you?   Signs of an Adverse Reaction

1.     You have an immediate burning sensation.  This doesn’t mean you need to rinse it off immediately. Give it a couple of minutes.  Some exfoliating and retinol products do have an initial bite but then soon after die down. If your skin isn’t used to “active ingredients”, it’s initial response could be much more intense than someone who uses it consistently.   The burning or tingling sensation should die down after your skin acclimates do the product within 2 minutes.  Know your ingredient list and possible side effects.  You may want introduce stronger products by incorporating it slowly 2-3 times a week to allow your skin to get used to it.

2.     You get a rash, hives or other histamine reactions.  This can be tricky.  It requires us to have sensory acuity and notice any internal symptoms such as disrupted digestion, pain in joints or brain fog.  If you happen to be testing a new product at the same time you are testing a new supplement,  or you’ve been eating more sugar or dairy than normal  it will be difficult to decide which one is causing the problem.   In this case,  go as simple as possible including your skincare and diet in order to bring the system back into balance.  Once symptoms have cleared up you can try the product while holding your diet clean and simple, eating foods your body is accustomed to.

3.     Clogged Pores or pustular pimples.  This doesn’t always mean an allergic reaction.  Sometimes a product causes the pores to clear out so you may experience an influx of breakouts initially then cycle through them more quickly than typical breakouts. This is because the active ingredient is working to eliminate the infection and cellular debris.  Sometimes it is able to dissolve it while others need to come up.  Use your intuition to decide which is occurring.  If you previously had very underground pimples and now you have more surface pimples.. that’s a good thing. It means your skin is pushing up and out the infected and clogged pores.

4.     You’re skin gets drier and drier after each use.  Even if you have acne, the goal isn’t to have a tight dry face. It’s to have a balanced, supple complexion.  This process takes time if you are dealing with extreme acne but eventually we want all skin types to be healthy and glowy which means a healthy lipid barrier.  If you’re skin is drying out and stays that way. You may need to rethink this product, maybe dilute it or use it less often.

Trying new products is fun and a great way to keep your skin healthy and vibrant.  It's good to have solid foundation that works for us, but with modern advancements in health and beauty, it's a good idea to keep open to new and improved.  Happy discovering!!