In today’s society, there is an ever-growing concern to have more, more, more. Some would passionately argue that more is better, but when it comes to the products you are putting on your face, that isn’t so much the case. By using gentle cleansers, hydrating masks, and moisturizers, you can get away with indulging in the more is better culture. The urge to garner becomes amiss when you are assaulting your skin with too many active, irritating ingredients. It is common to notice a slight sting or tingling sensation with some products -- this usually means it is doing its job; however, a straight-out burn does not indicate that the product is doing extra well at it’s job.
It is common to hear phrases such as “pain is beauty” when talking about particularly uncomfortable beauty regimes but the no pain, no gain attitude is a detrimental one to have when referring to your skin. Skin care should not sting, tingle, or burn on a daily basis. If it does, the result is redness, peeling, and flaking which are signs of chronic inflammation and will then lead to increased sensitivity and damage, especially if you already have sensitive skin.
Many skin care ingredients such as acids and retinoids will often sting or tingle, so it is confusing to know when your skin is experiencing the good type of burn or the type of burn that can significantly harm the skin. For products that contain active ingredients, the general rule of thumb is that when they do sting, it should not last longer than 30-60 seconds and they should not be used daily.
When using an exfoliator or scrub, it is important to pay attention to the word “acid.” Face washes, peel pads, scrubs, or masks with alpha hydroxy, glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acids may cause some tingling as a result of their acid pH or the concentration of the acid. The feeling should be ephemeral and again, products like these should not be used on a daily basis. Scrubs using microbeads or grains shouldn’t sting whatsoever unless they have been formulated to be “energizing” or “fresh” feeling, which then indicates the addition of menthol. Exfoliation is an essential process in skincare routines, but after doing so make sure to be extra cautious of the succeeding products. The top layer of dead skin has now been removed thus revealing a newly uncovered complexion that may be more sensitive.
Facial toners generally do not sting. Most of the time, they are made with alcohol and it evaporates quickly so the feeling is more of a cooling sensation. At most, a gentle tingle will last for no more than five seconds unless your skin is inflamed. On shaven skin with any cuts or abrasions, alcohol will prickle as does witch hazel. If you feel more than that, be sure the check the ingredients for mild acids.
When treating acne or breakouts, we tend to overdo it with products which can lead to some not-so-pretty results. Whenever a pimple pops up, many of us cannot resist the urge to instantly extract it. Products that claim to immediately get rid of zits can immensely dry the skin with either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide isn’t designed to sting but can parch the skin thus leading to peeling. Salicylic acid might sting and is designed to remove oil from the pores, again, drying out the skin. Rather than piling on more irritating ingredients, try White & Elm’s Acne Spot Serum, $18, for a more calming formula that features all natural ingredients to evade irritation. Check out the video below to see how to apply our gentle tea tree and lavender serum.
Moisturizers are designed to make your skin feel nice and refreshed. Anti-agers, however, include vitamin A derivatives known as retinoids. Retinoic acid is the prescription form while retinol is what is found in over-the-counter creams. Retinoids have been proven to reduce wrinkles, fade dark spots, and refine pores, therefore, they are the golden standard for anti-aging products. Retinoids do sting and if you use an excessive amount immediately, redness and peeling will occur. It is best to gradually incorporate retinoids into your skincare routines by starting off with twice a week, then every other night, until you work up to using it every night. Be sure to stop use if you experience dryness, redness, or peeling. Be extra cautious of eye creams and burning sensations around the eyes. Your eyes are surrounded by the most delicate skin so if you do experience burning make sure to wash the product off immediately. Retinol eye creams are the only exceptions, but still be careful and wash off any products that cause a reaction.
Finally, do not tolerate any form of stinging from a sunscreen. Acids, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or menthol are all irritants, too much of these ingredients too often can cause any person’s skin to flare-up. Sunscreen typically will not contain these harsher ingredients so any reaction to anything with SPF is likely due to a skin allergy. Be sure to check with a dermatologist in order to identify the real culprit. The best sunscreens to use are those with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, such as White & Elm’s Everyday SPF 15, $28, because these are minerals that do not typically cause reactions.
If you do happen to be experiencing redness and peeling, grab your favorite baseball cap and large sunglasses and head to your local drugstore to purchase a 1% hydrocortisone cream and an anti-inflammatory. Also, pick up a cleanser and cream made specifically for sensitive skin. If your skin is in particularly bad shape, it is always best to consult a dermatologist. For the next 48 hours apply a thin layer of the hydrocortisone cream twice a day and nothing else. Use the gentle cleanser or just water to cleanse the skin depending on how much it hurts. Finally, on day three, make sure to take extra care of your skin by using a fragrance and dye-free cleanser and cream twice a day until your skin calms down.
After your skin settles, reevaluate your skincare regime and make the necessary adjustments in order to maintain healthy skin. Having beautiful, healthy skin should not be hard to achieve. White & Elm’s mission is to use all natural products that heal, repair, sustain, and nourish the skin. Getting to that place is empowering. It is confident. It is beautiful. And it should not burn.
Keywords: burn, skincare, gentle
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