It was bound to happen at some point, with me trying out different skincare products. This one happened to be a sample facemask* that caused an allergic reaction. Overnight, my skin was burning, and by the next morning I had developed contact dermatitis. Oops.
For years, I had avoided having a severe reaction to a skincare product, mainly through extensive research, exercising caution, and staying loyal to a handful of brands that I knew were suitable for my skin. For some reason, that I cannot explain, I had not followed my own strict rules.
Calming the reaction
My first action was to take an anti-histamine to calm the rash, and then drink oodles of chamomile tea. I assembled my soothing army – Pai Cleanser (a new favourite – specially formulated for reactive skin), almond oil (high vitamin E content for healing skin), rosehip oil (an old favourite for soothing and healing), rose floral water (kept in the fridge and applied to skin to cool it down), and coconut oil (highly moisturising and preventer of any infections). And finally, extra doses of evening primrose oil helped eczema heal from the inside. Everything was organic just to be sure of no more nasties that could exacerbate the issue. And no touching or itching. It was an exercise in self-control!
I ditched make-up, regular moisturisers and serums for a week whilst skin calmed itself and the resultant eczema started to clear up. I boosted moisture by using Diprobase after the redness and itching phase had passed. The whole process took about 2 weeks from reaction to some normality.
I am pleased to report that skin is back on the mend now, eczema has cleared up and I’m just left with a bit of dry skin, which I know will pass in the next week or so. I’ve learnt a valuable lesson, and been reminded that I have sensitive skin and do not have the luxury of trying out lesser known brands that are not specially formulated for sensitive skin.
If you’re ever unfortunate enough to have a severe reaction to a product, then the best thing to do is simplify your routine and wait it out. It is very tempting to google solutions, and then apply everything that is suggested. Unfortunately, skin is already stressed and the more stuff you put on it, the longer it will take to heal. Anything applied now will sting and itch, and make you feel uncomfortable. If skin doesn’t look like it’s improving after a couple of days, then consult a doctor or dermatologist. In fact, you may want to go to a doctor as soon as it happens – I chose not to because I had a tried and tested routine that would help calm the reaction, and fix the resultant eczema.
No one really understands the pain of dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or any allergic condition of the skin until they have been through it themselves. The itching, constant tingling sensation, the painful stretching of the skin when just opening your mouth, and the paranoia when out, thinking that everyone is staring at you. It’s not fun, and it’s not something I will be remiss about again 🙂
* The facemask is not one I have written about on this blog, so all products recommended are still relevant.