This article originally appeared on MIMI.
As someone with the least sensitive skin in the whole world, it baffled me to hear stories from friends, co-workers, family members, and strangers reporting discomfort from using a variety of skin care products. Whether you've experienced slight burning upon application (wrong) or full on swelling (wrong again), you and I both know it's not chill. So I consulted Marianne Pistilli, PA-C of Schweiger Dermatology Group, for a foolproof guide to surviving—and actually benefitting from—your skin care routine.
When I asked Pistilli if it was normal for your moisturizer or foundation to sting every day or every once in a while she responded with, "Not normal!!" Two exclamation marks, everyone. Two.
While there are different methods to the madness, I've gathered a common way for people with sensitive skin to figure out their sensitivities is to try different products with various ingredients, deduce the problem ingredient(s), and weed them out of their routines. This process makes sense, but there are other options.
Pistilli recommends saving—not throwing away—the product that is irritating your skin and taking it straight to your dermatologist. If your skin care is really bothering you, getting a patch test is definitely something you should consider. Your derm will test for over 80 ingredients and get to the bottom of what is irritating your skin. And though we all hate trudging to the doctor's office, it will inevitably save you time, money, and the overall health of your skin. Plus, it doesn't even involve scary needles, as the test is focused solely on topical reactions.
If you don't feel like your irritation warrants a visit to the doctor, take a look at your ingredient list. Pistilli sites salicylic acid and glycolic acid as common ingredients that can be too strong for some people's skin. Other factors contributing to the stinging of products upon application can be sunburn, the use of retinoids, or other acne treatments.
Bottom line: No matter if you have sensitive skin or an actual allergy to an ingredient, there's no reason to keep using a product that stings or burns. There are SO many options available (natural and not) that it would be silly to continue with any discomfort.