How To Beat Chapped Lips (And A DIY Remedy)

remedy for chapped lipsDry, chapped lips are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and once the weather starts to change, everyone suffers. No one likes the look of flaky, dry skin all over your mouth. So I have a few tips to help you keep your lips soft and smooth if you get stuck under the mistletoe.

I have struggled with chronic dry lips for years, and even year round. Once the cooler temps hit, my lips would dry up and it seemed like there would be nothing that would solve my problem. Even while I was working at Sephora and had access to every lip balm in the world, I still couldn’t find anything that would solve my chronic chapped lips (called cheilitis, for those skin care nerds out there). My lips would be raw from my lower lip to my nose. So what’s a girl to do?

Here’s what I finally figured out.

Stop using products with sodium lauryl sulfate. Or, even better, all sulfates. Many products are touting their sulfate-free status these days, giving the impression that sulfates are evil ingredients. They are not, but they are heavy surfactants (cleansing agents) that can irritate delicate skin. If your skin is already irritated, it can make that irritation worse. Think of it like salt – not bad on popcorn or potato chips, even necessary, but boy does it sting if you get it in an open wound. Some people may have a higher sensitivity to sulfates and the sulfates themselves may cause the irritation. This was my problem. I stopped using a toothpaste with sulfates and my severely chapped lips disappeared within a week. Check your toothpaste and face wash for sulfates and switch it up if necessary. I switched to Sensodyne, which is easy to find at any drugstore. You’re looking for ingredients that have the word “sulfate” in them: sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.

Consider allergic reactions. The lips are thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the body, so I’ve encountered plenty of people who have lip-specific allergies. Try to use one lip balm for a few weeks and see if the condition subsides. If it doesn’t, try a different one, with a different set of ingredients. Once you’ve used a few, you should be able to figure out from the ingredients if you have an allergy. Look at the ingredients list on all the lip balms and try to find the common ingredients.

Severe chapped lips (think lips that crack and bleed, chapping, and irritation beyond your lip line) may actually be caused by a medical condition. Anyone who’s ever taken Accutane knows that it can cause some serious chapping. What I didn’t know? People who are prone to fever blisters and canker sores can also suffer from chronic chapped lips. If that’s you, get to a doctor. You’ll probably want a diagnosis and a prescription in order to get relief. Check out this article from Dr. Audrey Kunin who breaks down hidden causes of chapped lips on Dr. Oz’s website.

Try my DIY lip scrub. It’s so easy, and I even made a video for you. Remember, you can’t scrub away an irritation, so if your lips are swollen, inflamed, hurting, tender to the touch, don’t scrub. Use a product like Aquaphor for the time being, and if the irritation doesn’t subside within a week, you may want to see a doc.

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Top Picks for Sunscreens

best sunscreen skin care product recommendationSummer brings heat waves, watermelon, and fun in the sun. It also brings a lot of questions about sunscreens. I’ve talked about how to pick a sunscreen. Today, I’m sharing some of my top picks with you.

When I look for a sunscreen, I look first for a mineral filter. I prefer physical blocks like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for several reasons. Mineral sunscreens protect your skin from UV damage, and they are also anti-inflammatory. Zinc oxide is the primary ingredient in diaper cream; it’s known to reduce redness and soothe irritation. Mineral sunscreens are also less likely to cause reactions, so I always recommend them for my sensitive or allergic clients. Mineral sunscreens have a tendency to be thicker, so I know that an oily skin type is going to want a lighter texture. Sometimes you’ll need to go a chemical filter in this case. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!

True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30My first pick is the True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. I’ve linked to the one for baby, but there are several available. I stumbled onto this one at the drugstore one day, and I’ve recommended it ever since. It has a pure mineral sunscreen, and the rest of the ingredients are a blend of truly natural ingredients. It’s moisturizing enough to be an all-in-one product.

Who will love it: Dry skin types, natural skin types, sensitive skin types

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40

 

The Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 is a classic bestseller, and for good reason. It is super lightweight, but still a 100% mineral sunscreen. It absorbs quickly and can be used over any daytime product, from serums to moisturizers. Clarins claims to be a botanically based line, and that bothers me because they really aren’t. But if you’re looking for a lightweight sunscreen, this does the trick.

Who will love it: Oily skin types, people who want lightweight textures

 

bareMinerals SPF 30I mentioned this one in my summer essentials post, but I’m bringing it up again because I just like it that much. My favorite sunscreen touch-up product is the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. Sunscreens are only effective when used properly, and proper use means regular reapplication. This is a great way to touch up your sunscreen and mattify oiliness without budging your makeup. The brush is softer than most of the other powder sunscreens on the market, so it’s much nicer for sensitive skin.

Who will love it: Makeup wearers who want to reapply, oily skin types

Boscia BB Cream

I really love my BB cream. I’ve been using the Boscia B.B. Cream that features an SPF 27 in a mineral filter. It’s got a tint to it, so you get coverage and complexion evening all in the same step. It also has treatment benefits; it has licorice root extract and arbutin to help with pigmentation. It also has ingredients that act as a skin primer, so it smooths texture and fine lines. I wear mine almost every day. It’s lightly hydrating, but dry skin types will still want to use  a moisturizer.

Who will love it: Girls on the go who still want to look polished

Do you have a favorite sunscreen? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

 

See a product here that you think would work for you? I earn a commission and you help to support this blog if you use the affiliate links provided. But your trust is important to me, and I’d never recommend something that I haven’t used or didn’t like. Read my disclaimer.

How To Pick the Best Sunscreen

how to pick the best sunscreenIt’s that time of year. The sun is shining. The weather is warm. Who doesn’t want to be outside? But being outside more means that you need to up your sunscreen protection. And who hasn’t stood in the sunscreen aisle at the store and been completely overwhelmed with the options? How do you find the best one?

The first decision I make is based on the sunscreen ingredients. There are two kinds of sunscreen ingredients: inorganic sunscreens, or mineral filters, and organic sunscreens, or chemical filters. Don’t let the inorganic or organic labels confuse you. Mineral filters are generally considered the “natural” sunscreen, because the minerals occur in nature. Both types of sunscreen ingredients protect from UVA and UVB damage, but they do it in completely different ways. Mineral sunscreens (inorganic) work by deflecting UV rays away from the skin, essentially acting as a mini-mirror. Chemical filters (organic) work by absorbing the UV rays and neutralizing them before they can hit the living layers of the skin and cause damage.

Although both types of sunscreens are approved by the FDA, there are pros and cons to each.

Chemical filters

Chemical filters work by neutralizing UV damage in the very uppermost layers of the skin (the stratum corneum). Chemical sunscreens have had the most controversy in the last few years. Originally they were the most effective forms of protection. Now, we know that they are more likely to cause adverse reactions and allergies in reactive skin types. Although we don’t always know why sunscreens cause allergic reactions, there is some speculation that, because chemical sunscreens release small amounts of heat as they neutralize UV rays, more reactive skin types might be overstimulated by this and more likely to react.

These seem like overwhelming negatives, so why would you choose a chemical sunscreen? The simplest answer is that even with all the negatives, they are still effective at protecting the skin. They are easier to formulate with and can be used for lightweight products. They are easy to apply and do not feel as greasy. They also do not create the blue tint on deeper skin tones that mineral sunscreens can cause. If your preferences lie in formulation, you may prefer a chemical sunscreen.

Mineral sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens use the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are typically less likely to cause reactions because they lay on the surface of the skin instead of penetrating to the deeper layers, making them inert. Additionally, zinc oxide is a known anti-inflammatory and can soothe irritated skin.

Mineral sunscreens are reflective, and I believe they provide better protection against pigmentation. UV rays are deflected before they have a chance to cause damage.

Unfortunately, with mineral sunscreens, formulations generally turn out thicker and creamier. If you are a dry skin type, this may be fine for you. But oily and acne prone types may find it difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is lightweight. Darker skin tones may also have complaints; mineral sunscreens are famous for leaving a blue, ashy cast. Because the minerals are white, they can be difficult to blend.

Here’s a breakdown of what skin type may prefer which kind of sunscreen ingredient:
[column-group]
[column]Chemical Sunscreens
Oily skin types
Acne prone skin types
Deeper skin tones
People who prefer lighter textures
[/column]
[column]Mineral Sunscreen
Dry skin types
Reactive or allergic skin types
Pigmented skin tones
People who prefer natural ingredients
People who like creamier textures
Children
[/column]
[/column-group]

After you’ve decided which ingredients are right for you, you’ll need to pick your number. SPFs go up to 100 these days, but an SPF of 30 is 97% effective when used correctly. Keep in mind that higher SPFs require a higher chemical load, as it becomes more difficult to formulate high SPFs with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Allergic or sensitive types may find it difficult to use sunscreens with high SPFs for this reason.

Which one is right for you?

Now the million dollar question: which sunscreen is right for you?

My preference is to use a strictly mineral sunscreen, but it may be difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is only mineral. Many formulations that use a mostly mineral sunscreen may still include some chemical filters simply because it keeps the product lighter. Often I will layer my sunscreens and use a mineral powder on top to get as much protection as possible while still keeping textures light.

Ultimately, the most important step in sunscreen is the application part, so make sure to buy one that you will use. The sunscreen that protects you best is the one that is on your skin, not in the drawer. [Tweet this!]

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you pick a sunscreen? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

7 Things You Should Never Say To Your Esthetician

I am, generally speaking, a really nice person. I’m fairly patient. I see the good in everyone, to my own 7 things to never say to your esthetician before a facial detriment.

I’m an even nicer esthetician.

I am not an esthetician who will make you feel badly for using drugstore products. I won’t make you feel badly about not washing every single night. I won’t even make you feel guilty if your last facial was over 10 years ago.

But there are some things that my clients tell me that just drive me nuts. So here are a few things you should never say to your esthetician.

  • My skin is just so sensitive. Sensitive is such a vague word. I need specifics. Are you prone to redness? Do you have a lot of allergies? Are you prone to breakouts? What has happened in the past that makes you choose the word sensitive now? Don’t tell me that you’re sensitive; give me details about your past reactions.
  • I’m just using a hodge podge of random skin care products. We all mix and match. I don’t stick with just one line either. But when I ask you what you’re using, I’m looking for name brands, where you purchase, or active ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I know what kind of products your skin will tolerate. It also helps me figure out why you might be having problems. The more information you provide, the better I can help you.
  • I just saw my plastic surgeon for Botox/ Restylane/ Juvederm/ other injectables this week. All injectables have a waiting period before you can manipulate the skin as I will during massage and extractions. The last thing I want to do is screw up a $1000 worth of filler. Come back after 7-10 days, or better yet, schedule your facial before your visit to the plastic surgeon.
  • I’m just using stuff my dermatologist gave me, but I can’t remember what it is. I’m not trying to go against the recommendations of your dermatologist, but I still need to know what you’re using. Dermatologists often sell or prescribe products with aggressive ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I can make sure that I don’t overstimulate your skin.
  • I’m using really good stuff. I trust that you think what you’re using is good. You wouldn’t spend your hard-earned dollars on it if you didn’t believe that. But what does good mean to you? Brand name? Expensive? Dermatologist recommended? Recommended by another esthetician? I still need to know what you’re using to prevent an adverse reaction. And “good” skin care doesn’t guarantee it’s good for you. [Tweet this!]
  • I don’t need extractions. Everyone needs extractions. And in addition to that, you’re spending a lot of money to see me. Don’t you want to take advantage of that time and let me do what you shouldn’t be doing at home anyway?
  • I’m allergic to (insert common ingredient here) and this is the first time I’ve told anyone. I take allergies seriously, as I take all adverse reactions. But if you don’t tell me about an allergy until after I start your facial, the time I spend reading ingredients on every single bottle is now coming out of your massage time. [Tweet this!] If you have an allergy, call ahead and let me look at ingredients before you come in. It will allow the treatment flow better for both of us.

I really care about my clients and their skin conditions. I want to make sure that your experience is amazing from start to finish. If you have one single concern about your skin, I want to make sure we find a solution that works for you. It’s why I write this blog. But you have to let me help you, and you help me by giving me as much information as you can.

 

 

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Video: Eye Massage and Lymph Drainage for Dark Circles and Puffiness

I chose to use my Rodan and Fields Redefine Multi Function eye cream as my massage medium. I like this eye cream because of the creamy texture, and also because it has many beneficial ingredients. You want to choose something that is creamy and has a little slip to it, so you can glide across the skin without dragging or pulling.

  • Apply the eye cream or a tiny bit of coconut or jojoba oil all around the eye area.
  • Using gentle pressure, sweep upward on the brows. Massage the frown lines between the eyes and stretch them out.
  • Work up to release tear duct, and sweep across brow. Find the pressure point at the bottom of the brow and press in for a few seconds.
  • Work across the length of the brow in gentle, soft strokes
  • Return to the tear duct and gently pull down on the inside corner of the eye. Sweep from the inside to the outside without pulling on the skin.
  • Work a little extra eye cream into the crow’s feet and around the temples.

These techniques are helpful to stimulate lymph drainage, which can reduce dark circles and puffiness. It can also be beneficial to reduce sinus pressure due to allergies or illness.

 

 

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Just The FAQs: Will That Make Me Break Out?

can products cause acneThis particular question is always a hot topic. People are always quick to blame their skin care for the problems they’re having. The truth of the matter is, sometimes breakouts just happen. Sometimes it happens at the same time you change your skin care routine. I can’t tell you if something will make you break out without also looking at the rest of your routine and your skin type. I don’t often find that one single product is the only reason.

Acne can be complicated by many things, but it always comes down to three factors: excessive oil, a build up of dead skin cells, and bacteria. There may be underlying causes that influence one of these factors, like diet, hormones, or stress. Knowing this, there are only a few ways that a product can cause acne. I will say that some skin care can affect breakouts, but it is not nearly as common as people think. Here are a few cases where a product can cause acne.

  • Adding excessive oil to the skin. If you are already very oily, and you start using a product that has oils or occlusive ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, or even shea butter, you will break out. Because your skin doesn’t need more oil, the occlusives block the pores, therefore leading to more clogs. Add a little bacteria to the party, and you have a breakout.
  • Purging the skin. Whether skin really purges is a point of debate, even among skin care professionals. I believe it happens in very specific instances, and not every time you change your skin care. It might happen if your skin is already clogged and you start using something that contains retinol or salicylic acid. These ingredients break down debris in the pores, and you may experience some breakouts. Ultimately, you are reducing the likelihood a breakouts long-term since you are keeping the pores clear. Short-term, it’s no fun.
  • Causing allergic reactions. Acne is not a common allergic reaction. Most allergic reactions look like itchy red skin, rashy red bumps, or flakiness. Allergic reactions do cause inflammation though, and if you have conditions that are favorable for breakouts, it may make it more likely. Inflammation constricts a clogged pore, creating the anaerobic environment that bacteria thrives in. And voilà! Pimple.

In order to know if something would make you break out, you have to look at your skin care routine as whole, and how often you’re currently breaking out. [Tweet this!] Are you acne-prone, but not well controlled? Most people have a natural tendency to break out. It’s just what the skin likes to do. People tell me that they can only use a certain product or they break out. My reaction to this is that they need to be on an acne control regimen that will keep the pores clear and prevent breakouts long-term, because their skin is naturally prone to clog. I once read a quote from Dr. Dennis Gross, founder of MD Skincare, and he stated that it takes six weeks to form a breakout. If that’s true, then it can’t be the product you started using last week.

Have you ever stopped using a product because you felt it made you break out? After reading this, do you still think it was the product?

 

 

Speak your mind! Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Behind the Buzz

marketing buzzwords for skin careThe buzz in the beauty industry can completely overwhelming these days. Every product screams at you from the shelves. So how do you know what is just beauty buzz and what you should be buying into?

Natural

So many brands are claiming to be natural, but unfortunately, there is absolutely no regulatory body that oversees this claim. Any line with botanical extracts can claim to be natural these days. It’s up to you to decide what you consider to be natural. Do you mean preservative free? Free of synthetic fragrance? Free of synthetic ingredients all together? When I look for a natural product, I look for the majority of the ingredients to be botanically derived and for a product that is free of synthetic dyes, perfumes, and preservatives.

Oil Free

Oil-free is just what it says- free of all oils, even botanical oils. Oil-free is best for super oily skin types. But ultimately you should be shopping by texture. Super oily skins need light weight lotions. Combination skin types can use more medium-weight lotions or creams, depending on the time of year. Dry skins can comfortably use a heavier cream. Even acne-prone skins can benefit from some oils, since not all acne occurs on super oily skin. I generally recommend avoiding mineral oils, which can lead to clogging. Botanical oils are healthy for many skin types and don’t necessarily need to be avoided.

Fragrance Free

This is one of the most confusing aspects of beauty products. Technically this means that there are no synthetic fragrances added to the product. It’s helpful if you are one of the many people who are allergic to synthetic perfumes. This may not mean that the product smells like nothing. Every ingredient in the product has a natural scent to it, so the final product will smell like the blend of those ingredients. Some products that don’t use additional fragrance can smell medicinal or unpleasant in some way (does anyone else remember the Perricone products circa 2006? Phew!). Here’s where it gets super tricky. Many products that smell like nothing have actually added a masking fragrance to neutralize an otherwise unpleasant smell, and that product can still be labeled fragrance free. So check your ingredients well if fragrance is a concern for you. In natural products, it can be even more complicated. If a company uses a certain number of essential oils, they must label it as fragrance on the ingredient list even if the essential oils are used for therapeutic benefits. It’s a lot to take in, and again there are not many regulations for this term and how it’s used. In this case, I ignore the packaging and use my nose. If it smells like a bottle of perfume, I skip the product. If the product is botanically based, I check the ingredients and see if they have essential oils listed.

Follow me on Twitter where I tweet about the buzz words I see under the hashtag #beautybuzz. And leave me a note in the comments about any beauty buzz you’d like me to decipher.

 

 

Speak your mind! What beauty buzz do you hear? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Natural Skin Care, Naturally Better?

natural organic skin care, sensitive skin care With the surge of interest in organic food, there has also been more interest in organic and natural skin care. But many healthy foods have a health halo; they appear healthy, but they aren’t any better than regular junk food. Skin care products can hide behind the same guise. Like those foods, natural skin care products may not always be the best choice for you.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is better for sensitive skin.

Botanicals can often be more stimulating. Highly concentrated essential oils can overstimulate reactive skins. Ingredients can vary from batch to batch as seasons and farming conditions change. Some reactive skin types can’t handle these changes; they need more consistency.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is not as harsh.

Salicylic acid is derived from the botanical willow bark. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar. Apricot scrubs are completely natural and still incredibly aggressive. Sometimes, your sensitive skin can tolerate a natural form of an ingredient better. Sometimes it can’t tolerate an ingredient in any form. You may just have to experiment.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is less likely to cause allergic reactions.

You can be allergic to any ingredient, even natural ones. Poison ivy is completely natural and sometimes even organic, but you still don’t want to rub it on your face. Additionally, highly allergic skin types may find that the long lists of active ingredients make it difficult to narrow down specific ingredient reactions. They may find a simple list easier to navigate.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is more effective.

Natural skin care products can be incredibly effective. So can clinical skin care ingredients. It just depends on the condition of your skin and the results you desire. Some skin concerns, like acne, can respond well to natural ingredients like willow bark or tea tree oil. More persistent acne may need prescriptions like Retin-A or clindamycin. Your need changes just like your health. You may be able to avoid catching the flu by eating leafy greens and sleeping well, but once you’re sick, you might really need some Nyquil.

Health Halo: Natural skin care products are better for pregnancy.

Essential oils abound in natural skin care products, and they may be too stimulating for the sensitivities that can sometimes arise with pregnancy. There are also differing opinions on what essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy. As a rule, I advise women to avoid hydroquinone, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide. Defer to your doctor for any other ingredients.

I really love natural skin care products. I love the light fragrance of the essential oils, the lack of synthetic preservatives and fillers. In fact, I prefer many natural ingredients. But I love the results I get with clinical products, and my skin also looks its best when I mix in ingredients like retinoids. Don’t choose natural skin care over clinical simply for the health halo. [Tweet this!] The best part about the skin care business is that you have plenty of options. What do you choose?

 

 

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Falling Back

Fall is in the air in New York for sure, and as the leaves change…so should your skin care routine. These are a few quick tips for managing seasonal changes in your skin.

New fall season requires changes to skin care routineAs the weather cools off, skin has a tendency to dry. Be sure to add some extra moisture to your routine. Look for a moisturizer that has some healthy fats in it, like natural botanical oils such as jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, or avocado oil. You can even stretch your summer moisturizer into the fall months by using some simple, inexpensive jojoba oil underneath it as a serum. Be sure, as always, to avoid mineral oil and petrolatum. Sometimes, switching to a milky cleanser also helps to alleviate dryness, even if you only use it a few times a week.

Many people, myself included, are seeing an increase in their breakouts. Adding an acne control serum can quickly curb breakouts. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid or willow bark extract. Don’t forget to moisturize afterward though! Your skin is likely to be drier right now, and the added acne control can then make dryness worse. Use a skin-type appropriate moisturizer. Sometimes an exfoliating mask can sometimes help to bring your skin back in line. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid. And again, remember to moisturize afterward!

Fall is also time for seasonal allergies. Those prone to hay fever may see an increase in dry, itchy skin or eczema. Here again, I find that a healthy botanical oil is very helpful either used on its own or a few drops spiked into your regular moisturizer (for face or body). Sometimes a little hydrocortisone cream can help in small patches. If itchiness persists, definitely see your doctor for a prescription.

Seasonal facials can be a great way to manage a lot of these little changes. A professional exfoliation, extractions, and mask can often give your out-of-balance skin just the help it needs in order to get back on track, as well as giving you a little quality time to check in with an expert on your current skin care routine.

The key to managing your skin during a seasonal change is simply paying attention and being adaptable. Your skin will need different things at different times, so you must be willing to tweak your routine in order to respond. Feeling dry? Maybe amp up your moisturizer for a few days. Breaking out? Add some acne control for a week just in your problem areas. It’s okay to change your skin care routine based on what your skin needs at the time. [Tweet this!] Your skin is always changing, and your skin care routine should adapt as well.

 

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Patch Up Your Allergies

Skin allergiesOver dinner with a friend this week, our chitchat segued into a conversation about her skin. She complained to me about her sensitive skin and frequent rashes. Then she said something that struck me…the doctor said she wasn’t allergic to anything. I told her that she was clearly allergic to something, but she argued with me, saying that all her tests were negative. I explained to her that allergy patch testing can be helpful, but that it often turns up negative results even though you might still have allergies.

A woman gets skin allergy patch test for contact dermatitis at the dermatologist
Patch Testing

The process can be tedious, taking several days of doctor’s visits.  You’ll have your first appointment on a Monday or Tuesday. At this appointment, they will place small amounts of common allergens on your skin and cover them with sticky patches. They will do this until the majority of the skin on your back is covered, generally testing for 30-100 of the most common allergens, everything from common fragrance ingredients to preservatives to medications. You will return to the office to have the patches read 24-72 hours later, and possibly even another 24 hours after that, depending on the results of the first reading. You cannot get the patches wet during this time, making it difficult (though not impossible) to shower or work out. You may also develop rashes on your back that can cause discomfort and itching.

If you and your doctor have decided to proceed with patch testing, make sure you understand what your results mean. So remember that the test only checks a limited number of the most common allergens. The good news is that you’ve narrowed the field of possibilities that are likely to cause problems. The bad news is that you still come in contact with thousands of other ingredients to which you could be allergic. Also remember that it checks for common allergens, not common ingredients. This means that if you’re allergic to an ingredient that is in a lot of products, but you’re the only one allergic to it, this test may not give you all the information you need. You may find out that you are allergic to some ingredients, but you may still have more allergies to other ingredients not covered in the test. Finally, I have had many clients who were allergic to something on just one part of their face, like lips or even just around the eyes. Facial skin is typically thinner and more reactive, so testing for something on your back may not necessarily uncover all allergies. If you figure out that something irritates the skin on your face, I would avoid all contact with it no matter what.

I feel like patch testing is a great way to gather information, but it’s important to understand what you’re testing for and why it may not always work. The more you know about your allergies and what your skin can tolerate, the better you will be able to find skin care that works for you. But remember that it is often only one of the many methods that you may need to use in order to isolate your allergies. Be sure to consult your dermatologist if you are having chronic problems with contact dermatitis. A patch test may be the perfect place to start your search, and your doctor can guide you.

More questions about allergies and patch testing? Email me questions or leave a comment below!