I bet almost everyone after their latest "treat yourself" skincare haul has immediately run home to lather their faces in it. I get it- why wait? But this step is the most important one everyone needs: a patch test!
What is a patch test?
A patch test is a simple yet effective way of checking whether your skin will react adversely to any products or if you may potentially be allergic. This is important as anytime you switch up your skincare routine you expose yourself to a risk of irritation.
Why should you do it?
Patch tests are important to reduce the potential severity of an allergic reaction, it ensures you can safely use a newly introduced product. There are two ways products can irritate your skin the first is irritant contact dermatitis which happens within minutes or hours and the second is allergic contact dermatitis which requires recurring and frequent application to the product and takes around four days to develop. Reactions can appear in the form of itching, peeling, urning, blistering, reddening, swelling and more.
How should you do a patch test?
Apply a coin sized product to a less noticeable, small patch of skin such as on the underside of your jaw, elbow, behind your ear, inside of your wrist, side of your neck or inner arm. Make sure the skin has been cleansed before applying the product. Leave the product on for 24-48 hours and then rinse off. However, if you want to be more thorough, repeat this process for around 4-7 days to check if there may be a delayed reaction.
If you experience any pain, burning or itching sensations immediately or a few minutes after application you should wash the affected area right away. If you have any swelling, rashes or difficulty breathing you should contact emergency services for medical attention. If you have no reaction then it is safe to apply the product as specified on the instructions.