How to know if your skincare is making you breakout

Here is a scenario most of us can relate to. You purge your hard earned cash on a brand new skincare product just to find yourself with a massive breakout soon after. Naturally you start to wonder what on earth caused this breakout and curse your new product straight away! Because when it comes to a breakout what is the thing that almost always gets blamed first: skincare. While it most certainly plays a massive part in the health of your skin it might not be to blame. Because when it comes to acne (or your skin in general), plenty of factors do play a role (i.e. other products!). So, how do you know if it was that new skincare product or not? Hopefully the following points will bring some clarity to your frustration and confusion:

Skin purging vs skin breakout

Products that contain lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinol are likely culprits because they’re designed to speed cell turnover. Acne starts out as microcomedones, which are clumps of bacteria under the surface of the skin and are not visible (yet!). Some products increase the turnover of skin and help to reveal microcomedones earlier and faster. So yes, your new product is most likely responsible for that breakout but hey, better out than in! Think of it as some spring cleaning before the real magic starts. In this case your new product is only doing what the last product didn't. However, not every breakout can be blamed on skin purging. If you try a new product and you start to breakout, it depends on the ingredients as to whether you should stop using it. Silicones and oil-based products may clog pores and are ingredients you need to watch out for. If you think about it, skin purging will happen a lot sooner than a breakout caused solely by a new product. Skin purging is eliminating bacteria that is already there. This will happen only a couple of days after using your product for the first time, whereas a product that is to blame for your breakout will take a lot longer to show any breakouts.

You’re getting rashes or hives

This could be the result of your body reacting to ingredients found in cosmetic formulas and rashes or hives are never a good thing. If you have very sensitive skin test a small patch of your new product on the inside of your wrist first.

You’re itchy

If your skin is itchy or red you might be having an allergic reaction, this will happen almost straight away and is also a very good sign that the product you are using is not a good match with your skin

Your skin feels tight

Your face should never feel tight after using a skincare product. That means your skin has been stripped of its natural protective oils and these natural occurring oils are vital for hydration in your skin.

Your skin is suddenly oily

Oily skin may be the norm for some, but if oil usually isn’t a concern for you, then perhaps your product is affecting your skin. Our skin contains a natural layer of oil that acts as a protective barrier, so when harsh cleansers and creams strip this layer, the skin immediately goes into a repair mode and produces excess oil to compensate for the damage.

Your face burns or stings

Some skincare products or treatments will tingle a little, but when there is a burning sensation (yes there is a massive difference) then don’t suffer in the name of beauty, wash it off ASAP!

Your skin is peeling or dry

Again, dry skin can be normal for some, but if you find that your complexion is rough and peeling after a couple of uses then it’s time to make changes.

You have bumps

A cluster of bumps under your skin is usually the result of skincare that has clogged your pores or your skin is to sensitive and is having a reaction. 

If you are still unsure and not quite ready to toss your expensive new product then give it 6-8 weeks. If your skin looks worse or you are simply not happy with the state of your skin then toss it. Harsh, I know, but maybe the brand has another product that might work better for your skin.