The Right Way to Patch Test Skincare

The Right Way to Patch Test Skincare

So you’ve got a new skincare product you’ve been super excited about. It’s on your shelfie. Sealed, brand new, it’s plastic container glistening in the fluorescent bathroom light. It’s midnight, you crack it open - film that first scoop for Tik Tok - and slather it on your face and neck. Oooh, new night cream, who dis? Exciting.

Only to wake up the next morning covered in hives and breaking out with itchy, irritated skin. *insert campy horror flick scream here* 

It’s happened to all of us. Especially the skincare enthusiasts willing to make themselves human guinea pigs in the name of finding the next holy grail product. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Introducing patch testing! An easy way to minimize reactions when trying a new product for the first time by containing possible reactions - in a small, maybe hidden, area of the face or body - and waiting 24 hours to see if that specific “patch” of skin receives or rebels against your new found formulated friend. 

What is it? 

Patch testing properly can prevent severe allergic reactions. Especially great for those with sensitive skin or suffer from “acne-cosmetica,” that is, comedones, pustules or papules caused by using cosmetics, skincare and other topical products that are incompatible with your skin. “Purging” skin belongs to this list. 

Like all good things, patch testing takes time. Sometimes, to see a true reaction it takes one to five patch tests to really see your skin’s relationship with a new formula. But even if this sounds tedious and daunting, your skin will thank you by being flawless, smooth and happy while you fill up your morning and night routine with more things it loves.

Patch testing helps you find out what your skin loves and what it doesn’t. It can help you find out what is causing your acne and how it likes to stay supple and hydrated. Let’s face it, with the growing list of formulas and offers that the beauty and skincare industry keeps pumping out, being selective will help you save both time, money and possible desires for a paper bag over your head. 

Here’s how:

1. Grab a small amount of your new product and place it in a discreet yets sensitive part of your face/body. My three favorite places are: behind the ear, under the chin and in the inner elbow or wrist. This will differ from person to person but you’ll eventually see which sensitive areas provide the best feedback.

2. Keep an eye out for these things:

  • Allergic reactions like swelling, hives, rashes, raised bumps, and itching. (This basically means your body is trying to fight whatever ingredient it deems possible threatening - yikes!)

  • Breakouts. Actually applying the product to your breakout prone areas is a speedier way for you to know if it’s compatible or not.

    3. Remember to check up on the patch test area before deciding to fully incorporate a product. Keep patch testing daily until the decision is clear. Literally. It’s as simple as being honest with yourself. It’s easier to ditch a product than it is to fix the aftermath of a long term, bad reaction. If you notice breakouts after what you thought was an all clear test - take out the product for two weeks to see if it fixes the issues. Basically patch testing in reverse. 

    This easy skin check-up method lets you catch the possible problem caused by disagreeing formulas before they arise or get worse. Though it’s not as satisfying as trying a new miracle cream and instantly seeing results - it is even more satisfying to have impeccably flawless skin using only products you love and trust. 

    Happy patch testing!


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