Skin Health Magazine Issue #6 / Winter 2018 - Page 13

HOW TO... Do a Patch Test Properly W e’ve all been there. You finally take the plunge and invest in that new skin care product you’ve had your eye on for months, before rushing home to slather it all over your face and wait for the magic to happen. But instead of enjoying the smooth, glowy skin you read about in so many online reviews, your skin becomes itchy, red and sensitive. Obviously this product isn’t right for you, but now you have an irritated com- plexion to fix. If only there was a way to avoid situations like this… No matter how often you have used a particu- lar ingredient or how au fait you are with what does and doesn’t work for your skin, if you are trying a product you have never used before, a reaction is always possible, especially when the product in question contains highly active ingredients like acids, peptides or Retinol. The easiest way to avoid an unexpected reaction is to complete a patch test before committing to any new formula. Ideally, try and get hold of a sample of the product you want to add to your routine. If a sample isn’t available, check the brand’s returns or reactions policy before handing over any cash. Once you have the product, there are a couple of steps you can take to determine whether or not it is going to work for your skin. Start by applying a small amount of the product to a typically sensitive yet easily hidden part of the body, so if you do suffer a reaction, you can easily disguise the affected area. For face products, apply to the skin behind the ear or down the side of your neck, and for body products, apply a small amount to the inside of your arm. Any serious reaction will show up relatively quickly – we’re talking minutes – but it’s best to wait for at least 24 hours to give the skin time to respond. Look out for redness, under-the-skin bumps and a burning sensa tion which could signal either an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients or your skin taking a dislike to the strength of the formulation. If you want to make sure a product isn’t going to clog your pores and contribute to breakouts, apply a small amount to your chin or to the area where the cheek meets the nose. These areas of the face have more oil glands and tend to exhibit larger pores, making them the perfect place to check whether a product is comedogenic or not. Once the patch test has been completed, you have one of two options. The first, and most ideal, outcome is that your skin has suffered no reaction, so you can go ahead and purchase the full size product and apply it like you would any other step in your routine. The second outcome is that your skin has reacted badly and you have to ditch that product you had such high hopes for. To restore calm back to your skin after a reaction, use minimal prod- ucts on the area, keep it cool and avoid using anything that contains fragrance or alcohol, which could exacerbate the problem. Next time you feel the itch to try a new product, remember to do a patch test first. Your skin and your bank account will thank you for it. ISSUE #06 | 2018 | 13