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Why Skin Care Sometimes Causes Irritation

by Samantha Williams April 10, 2018

We use skin care products to make our skin better and treat common issues like dryness or aging. So why do new skin care products or routines sometimes initially cause irritation, redness, or flakiness?

The answer depends on your particular skin and what it’s accustomed to in terms of product usage and its condition before any new skin care use.

Skin Care Issues

Introducing new products and ingredients onto the skin or an unfamiliar routine sometimes produce unintended or unwanted effects.

Finding and refining the right products into the proper skin care regimen can sometimes be trial and error. Hopefully, any effects are more positive than negative but regardless, they should be monitored closely.

Common undesired side effects from initial new skin care use are often various forms of irritation or discomfort. So what causes these issues?

Physical irritation can be a result of the skin’s needing to acclimatize to any new skin care. Also, the physical action of scrubbing or exfoliation can be initially too rough for your skin type.

Allergic or inflammatory responses are usually caused by ingredients left on the skin. Products that are washed away (ensure no residue remains) immediately typically do not cause an allergic response unless there is increased sensitivity or because the ingredient potency is very high.

Adjustment Period

Any time your body experiences something new, there can be pushback from your body depending on what your skin is accustomed to. It’s perfectly normal for your skin to take time to acclimate to new conditions, products, or programs.

Because of these normal, bodily adjustments, keep your skin care expectations realistic and patient. Also, be aware of any possible purging where your existing skin issues can be temporarily accelerated.

As a reminder, the normal skin renewal process is around 4 to 6 weeks, so temper your progress and make sure you are taking the right steps for healthier, more glowing skin.

skin care irritation

Be Gentle

Often exfoliation can require additional adjustment for your skin. Sometimes, exfoliation can lead to red, flaky skin if it isn’t quite used to it.

It’s important to use clean towels or washcloths and thoroughly rinse cleansers from the skin. Be gentle, not rough as forceful rubbing can exacerbate symptoms.

We recommend a double cleansing process for extra attention and work for the skin. However, your skin may not used to such regular cleansing and you could experience some physical symptoms. A temporary suspension of the secondary cleansing with observation may allow for slow, patient re-adjustment to your full skin care regimen.

Sensitive Skin

Those who have a history of skin sensitivity may experience extra intolerance to certain products and ingredients. If you know you have sensitive skin, dip your toe and test new products carefully.

If you suspect any possible allergic reactions, stop using any new products immediately to see if any reaction clears up. Consult what ingredients may have caused it. An allergic response can be difficult to conclusively determine and may be due to dosage or particular formulations of ingredients in products used.

Dry or delicate skin may need proportion adjustment of products used. Try smaller amount until the skin adjusts.

Don’t overdo it and allow your skin time and some gentleness to transition as you commit to any new skin care routine. Avoid over exfoliation and carefully track your progress in case you need to make any slight adjustments.

Keep It Clean

Water, moisture, and moisturizer is your friend. Keep your skin moist as you adjust to a new regimen. Don’t be abrasive, act gently, and take care of your skin.

Consulting a skin care professional or other reputable resources is always recommended to keep your knowledge and expectations in line based on science and proven trials. Empower yourself with knowledge.

So remember, if you experience annoying but relatively benign side effects like irritation, redness, or flaking, monitor and make adjustments as needed in reducing cleansing or skipping steps or products causing it. Always cease any use if there’s a more serious or harsh reaction and find out more.

Well-formulated, high-quality skin care products should be fine for even sensitive skin. Keep in mind, your personal skin history and be mindful of processes, product usage order, and the benefits of a full routine done in unison with a healthy lifestyle and avoiding bad habits.

Skin care takes time to work. However, if you are experiencing any side effects, it’s important to monitor them and make sure they are part of your skin’s normal replenishment or adjustment and not a deeper reaction.

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Samantha Williams

Senior Marketer at METRIN, travel hacker, and serial Netflix binger.

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