Feb 22, 2013

S.O.S. - Spazzed Out Skin

Disclaimer: This post is based solely on my own, unique experience.  I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from trying the products mentioned.  I actually really liked all of the products and am very disappointed that they did not work for me.  I have not heard of anyone else (friends, colleagues, other bloggers, etc) who has had a similar reaction...apparently I'm just super special :) I also apologize for my super scary makeup-less photos - which should have had a disclaimer unto themselves.

Let me start off by saying that I am very lucky when it comes to my skin.  I've never had a serious problem with acne, and yeah I can develop an oil slick down the middle of my face but nothing a little powder and some blotting papers can't handle.  The two issues that I have had with my skin have been poor skin texture (enlarged, clogged pores on my nose and cheeks), and sensitivity.

My issues with skin texture have largely been resolved since I reassessed and changed my skincare routine (a full post is coming soon!), and I was feeling as if my skin sensitivity had gotten a lot better too.  I must have gotten overly confident because my skin decided to knock me back down a couple pegs by developing an allergic reaction to the Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation!  The only other times a reaction of this nature has happened was in the summer when I used the L'Oreal Magic BB Cream, a couple years ago when I used Covergirl True Blend Foundation.  With all of these products I wore them once for a full day with no problems whatsoever, but the next time I used them I developed this reaction by the end of the day.  It's such a wonderful surprise to wash your face and then look in the mirror to see yourself covered in little itchy red bumps all over your forehead, eyelids, around your mouth, and even underneath your eyebrows!  I really hope my sarcasm is painfully evident here.

Sorry to add such a scary photo!!!  But you can see the reaction on my forehead and under my eyebrows (!!)

I did a fair amount of investigating what could be causing this reaction.  It would be great to have a single culprit to pin the blame on...other than my own skin (everyone loves a scapegoat).  After making a chart listing all the ingredients in the foundations that I reacted to compared to the ingredients in the foundations that work for me, highlighting suspected culprits, researching said suspects, and doing some cross-referencing, I came to only two conclusions:

1) I totally lack the scientific background and knowledge to determine which of the extremely long, science-y, multi-syllabic ingredients is causing my reaction.
2) The foundations that don't bother me have significantly less ingredients than the ones that do.

I know you are all now totally impressed with my powers of deduction and extremely analytical mind, but try to keep it together.  I, once again, hope my sarcasm is evident haha.  Honestly, in all the research and scouring the internet I did, the only real information that I found was that most allergic reactions are caused by fragrance, alcohol, or parabens used in products.  I really wanted something super specific that I could look for to avoid this from ever occurring again, but only getting an allergy test from a doctor will give me that kind of information.  In the mean time patch testing - putting some product on the inside of your elbow and waiting for 48-72 hours - may be the best way to protect myself from a possible reaction.  This is a good strategy to use, but will be sooo difficult because I'm super impatient and get really excited when I buy something new.  Who wants to buy a new product and then wait  TWO or THREE whole days before using it?!  That's craziness.  But patience is a virtue, and I'd rather wait than have a rash all over my face for a week or so (which is how long it usually takes for my skin to go back to normal).

What's really a shame is that I really did like all of the foundations I used.  I remember thinking how great my skin looked when I applied the Covergirl foundation, feeling surprisingly impressed by the L'Oreal BB Cream, and most recently, thinking I'd found a new HG drugstore foundation in the Revlon Nearly Naked foundation.  I still think that the Revlon foundation is fantastic, and I don't want to freak any one out or cause any paranoia for anyone wanting to try these products because I honestly haven't heard of anyone else's skin reacting in a similar manner.  I just wanted to share this experience and also take the time to shine the spotlight on my tried and true skincare items that I rely on when my skin freaks out.

When I do have a weird skin reaction I try to use the most gentle and healing products I can find.  I don't use my Clairisonic or any exfoliating products (neither physical nor chemical), and I drink lots and lots of water.  In terms of makeup I try to keep things to a minimum if I wear anything at all, and use makeup with more natural ingredients, such as mineral foundation.  My go-to, always-have-my-back products are:

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - I've been using this natural, olive oil based cleansing oil for the past 5-6 years, and I love it.  Not only does it remove all my makeup, dirt and grim, it also leave my skin soft, smooth, and glowing.  It's extremely gentle and I feel like it soothes and nourishes my skin.  If my reaction is really bad I will just use this and no other cleanser.
Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar - This is also a super gentle cleanser.  It's super old-school, but I like it because it cleans without aggravating my already agitated skin.  My husband uses this religiously, and he says it was the best thing for his acne because harsher cleansers just worked his skin up more and exacerbated his breakouts.
Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream - This is my secret skin weapon.  It's more like an ointment than a cream, and has a slightly medicinal smell due to the camphor; however this just sinks into your skin and leaves it super moisturized and baby soft.  It feels quite heavy when you put it on but it absorbs almost instantly and doesn't clog my pores or make me oily, which was surprising.  I also feel like it has healing properties, and I've been known to put it on pimples, cuts, scars, etc.  I basically put this everywhere.  It's also really good for those pesky dry patches that I get on my cheeks.  It keeps them from getting flaky and provides a good protective barrier.  I will always have this in my house (actually we currently have two tubes of it going...a little goes a long way and one tube will last both me and my husband 4-5 months)
Cortizone-10 Intensive Healing Formula (cream) - I've been applying this on my rash to help reduce the inflammation and itchiness.  I think it's also helping speed up the healing process because my skin looks much better today and way ahead of where my skin was at this time after my last reaction.
Youngblood Mineral Foundation - I used to use Bare Minerals but I didn't feel like it help up well throughout the day.  I started using Youngblood and I really really like it!  It has great coverage and more staying power.  I accidentally dropped my jar yesterday and subsequently ran it over with my car (long story...well not really that long but ridiculous and will definitely make this post way too ramble-y) yesterday so I don't have a container to show you, but if you like mineral makeup it's definitely worth checking out.

I don't know if this post will be helpful but I hope it will be...or at least I hope I wasn't too whiny!  Even if you don't have crazy, weird skin reactions the skincare products I mention are still amazing.  Additionally, I don't want it to seem like I'm picking on drugstore foundations, because there are many that I think are wonderful; but for the sake of being honest, this last reaction has made me more nervous to use them... On the positive side, this is the absolute best excuse for me to explore more high-end foundations so stay tuned - because once my skin is back to normal it's game on (after waiting the 48-72 hours for the patch test :/ ).

Have any of you ever had a reaction to a beauty product?  Are there any skin products that you rely on to get you through tough skin times?  As always, I love to hear from you in the comments - and don't forget to subscribe if you like this post...or just want to bring a smile to my face :)