Trying out new skincare products is necessary to ensure you’re using the best products possible in your routine. After all, we all learn over time and figure out better ways to aid our particular skincare goals. Finding the product is only part of the work though. You’re also going to want to properly test new products each time. Why though? How we react to various ingredients changes over the course of our lives. This can happen due a variety of reasons ranging from illness to hormonal shifts to the various changes that happen as we age. We have to live with this fact and make allowances to ensure we don’t use a product that causes a negative and highly visible reaction. Fortunately, you can test products easily by conducting a patch test. This provides an idea of how your skin will react without worrying about a bad reaction being a problem. Let’s take a quick look at both what forms reactions can take and how to do an appropriate patch test.
What To Look For
Skin reactions can take so many forms that it is almost certain we’ve all experienced one or two over the course of our skincare journeys. The most common form reactions tend to take are localized redness and potential tenderness around the location the product was applied. This potential for creeping redness is what drives many skincare anxieties when it comes to skin reactions. No one wants to experience blotchy red skin. The reactions can be greater than that though. Hives can happen as well when the allergic reaction to a product is great enough. Lastly, sometimes a product can trigger eczema or a similar form of skin condition that you might deal with for the foreseeable future. That’s why a patch test is a good idea.
Finding the Spot
True to its name, the patch test involves finding a relatively hidden patch of skin to test a product on. In general you’ll want to the skin to be as similar as possible to the kind where you’ll be applying the product. This is because differences in skin thickness can and do affect how products react with our skin. You can make exceptions though. Finding thinner skin around the wrists or other areas can help to test facial products without any true issues. The key is simply making sure you’re applying the product in a place that no one but you will notice a reaction if it happens. Putting the patch test beneath an area normally covered by clothes goes a long way towards helping in this regard. Once you’ve isolated a good spot, you’ll need to figure out how long you want to use a product to determine how your skin will react.
Time It Right
The good news is that most of the time you’ll likely get a relatively quick negative reaction if you’re going to get it from a product. It isn’t something that takes a while in most cases. We need to account for the times in which it isn’t though. As a result, you’ll likely want to do the patch test two to three times in the same area to make sure there isn’t an effect after the product begins to build up in an area. This comparatively short time frame for testing will generally be all you need to determine if the product will be good for your skin. Don’t take it as perfect reassurance of product safety though. You’ll want to watch wherever you’re actually applying the product for the first month to make sure there aren’t any long term issues. Additionally, you’ll need to stay alert for the first few days just in case a particular area of reacts unexpectedly. Once you’ve passed that threshold you should be perfectly safe.
Patch tests are one of those sadly necessary aspects of skincare that we don’t talk about as much as we should. Skin can be finicky and change of time. We need to learn to recognize that as failing to do so means we can end up using products that are actively hurting our skin. Fortunately, all you need to do is learn to recognize the appropriate signs of inflammation and how to perform a patch test to ensure your skin remains as healthy as it can be when trying out products.