*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or a dermatologist. Do not take any of my personal advice as medical advice. I am going based on my own experiences and what helped me in this situation. Please remember that what worked for me, may not work for you. If you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction, I urge you to contact your doctor or in extreme cases call 9-1-1. Also, I have combination skin, so please use products that are tailored to your own skin combination. You do not want to mess up your skin!
Well, that time has come! I have been lucky enough to not suffer from any major allergic reactions from face products, that is until a few days ago. I needed face wash, and was trying to save money since we all know that face wash can be pretty expensive. I decided to try the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. I have the Ibotta app, so there happened to be a $2.00 back offer, so I couldn’t refuse (Instant regret, BTW). I will say that I like the smell, and love that it is a gentle cleanser. The first day of use, I paired the face wash with an exfoliating brush. My face felt super soft and clean and I loved it! I used it again on the second day and everything seemed normal, that is until later that day. I wasn’t wearing any makeup, and just to happened to take a tiny nap. When I woke up, I felt like my face was extremely dry. I went to my medicine cabinet and put on my Garnier Fructis SkinActive Hydrating Moisturizer. When I looked into the mirror, I can see the redness in my forehead and my chin area. I did not think anything of it because I had just woken up, so I figured it was due to taking a nap.
Fast forward to a few hours later, my skin started to itch. I’m talking about the pregnant belly itchiness when your skin is stretching. You moms know what I’m talking about! I wanted to itch like there was no tomorrow. I started rubbing my face (instead of scratching) and when it got way too itchy, I went to the mirror and noticed my face even more red, and my skin looked dry and scaly. I immediately washed my face with olive oil soap (the only new product I was using was the Neutrogena face wash, so it was easy to pinpoint what caused my reaction). My skin felt a little better after that, as the itchiness was soothed due to the moisturizer. I put on a little moisturizer and sat down. My skin wasn’t as itchy, but still extremely dry. I kept putting on more and more moisturizer in hopes to stop the dryness, to no avail. My hydrating moisturizer was not doing its job because of my allergic reaction.
The next morning, I woke up and immediately washed my face again with the olive oil soap. My skin still felt dry and scaly, and even showed signs of peeling. Instead of using by beloved moisturizer, I put on a good amount of almond oil and let it rest. Yes, I felt like a grease ball, but I was not itchy nor did my skin feel like it was pulling my face apart. I noticed later in the day that my skin was peeling, but the Neutrogena face wash also made me break out like crazy. I have always had pretty good skin, so you can imagine my horror seeing pimples everywhere. When I went to bed, I washed my face and applied Mupirocin ointment. I immediately noticed that the itching went away, and was not bothered to itch throughout the night.
Day three wasn’t that bad. I still had itching, but not as much as a few days ago. As soon as I woke up, I washed my face and applied a good amount of almond oil. This day was pretty easy compared to every other day. There was still some itchiness, but nothing that I could not handle. Allergy medicine is your best friend!
Day four was fairly easy. I had some itchiness on this day, but let me tell you, a cold compress is your second best friend. Again, I washed my face and put on almond oil. In the middle of the day, I used a cold compress to soothe the itchiness in my face. This worked wonders as I did not have an urge to scratch the life out of my face. You will notice a few white heads here and there, but not as much as in the beginning. Also, you will see the ugliness of your skin peeling. It looks nasty, but trust me, this is a good thing.
Day five, almost at the end of the race. My skin was no where near itchy and did not show any signs of a burning sensation. The only thing I had to deal with today is the dryness and peeling. You will be near the end of your appearance wrecking pimples. Since I did not have an burning sensation, I figured it would be okay to wash my face with just water and use a wash cloth to rub my fave. I rubbed in gentle circles as to not irritate my skin. To my surprise, all of the peeling was gone.
Day six, HALLELUJAH!!!! My skin is back! My oh my how I have missed my skin. I am no longer dry, itchy, or peeling. My skin took a while to get back to normal, but man am I glad it is! Word to the wise….if they say to do an allergy test before using a new product…DO IT!
Here are the steps that I took to soothe my allergic reaction. This list is not the exact order I went in, but this makes the most sense to do FIRST! I was the trial and error version. Friends do not do that version, save yourself the pain!
- As soon as you notice an allergic reaction, wash your face with warm water and a mild soap. I used Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Shea Butter Soap with Avocado. You don’t have to use this soap, but this soap does have soothing ingredients, which is what you are looking for.
- Cool down your skin by using a cold compress or in my case, a cold water bottle. It helps to soothe the itching, while also bringing down any swelling.
- After you wash your face, apply an anti-inflammatory cream, such as hydrocortisone cream. I used Mupirocin cream, which you get as a prescription for rashes and eczema. Obviosuly this is not realistic, so hydro cream is a MUST!
- Allergy medicine is your friend! Claritin, Benadryl, or any other form of allergy medicine. Be aware that some may not work. I used the generic brand Equate Allergy Relief and that happened to make the itching worse (probably due to the reaction. I use this brand all the time and it really does work). I held out for a few hours and took a Claritin gel capsule, which made the itchiness go down tremendously.
- STOP USING PRODUCT ON YOUR SKIN! Sorry to yell at you, but seriously STOP! I made the mistake of continuing the use of my moisturizer, and even though it did its job for a short time, it also irritated my skin more. Only use the anti-itch creams or a small amount of almond oil. Yes, you can use coconut oil or olive oil. I realize that anti-itch cream and almond oil are products, however, I mean beauty products such as makeup, face wash, moisturizer, etc). I know, the horror!
- Give your skin time to breathe. I know, it’s going to be painful to not use our beloved face products and makeup (literally dying inside), but it’s for the best. Rashes take time to completely heal, and you don’t want to keep putting your skin in danger of even more reactions. The full healing process should take between 3-6 days, less if you are really lucky. If you do not see any comfort after that time frame, or you are in extreme discomfort, you may want to see a dermatologist.