When the Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said: “Change is the only constant in life,” maybe he knew that TikTok was coming. After all, in this world of viral trends and beauty blogs, it seems we are always changing things up in our routines — revamping our skin and body care habits, introducing new food recipes and trying out the latest beauty products. While these changes can level things up in our lives, there are situations where that new skin care product, food or routine could be the source of unwanted skin reactions. Let’s examine the range of reactions that can occur with changes in our routines and identify which are typical and harmless and which might be signs of a more significant concern.
Is My Skin Reacting? 5 Triggers That Cause Reactions
When it comes to reactions that show up on the body, some are instant and obvious and others can take longer to appear. While an immediate reaction can be jarring, it can make for an easier diagnosis. For example, if you try a new food one night and wake up swollen or itchy the next morning, there’s a good chance you can trace the reaction back to that food. Other reactions can be more sneaky, showing up days or even weeks into a new routine.
Signs can vary but often appear on the skin in the form of a rash or cracked skin, redness, swelling, stinging, burning, raised bumps, flaky skin or breakouts. Sometimes the reaction coincides with pain or itching, but not always. Let’s do a deep dive into the different things that can cause skin to react, how to spot reactions and when to seek help.
1. Reactions To Skin Care Products
With so many skin care and beauty products out there, it’s tempting to switch things up and try whatever is new or viral. After all, if people are talking about it, then it must be good, right? Unfortunately, just because a skin care product becomes popular, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Some of the reactions that are common with new skin care products include redness, irritation, itching and acne breakouts. These can be caused by a number of things including:
If your skin reacts badly to a beauty product, your first instinct is probably to stop using it immediately. However, there are certain products that might cause skin to react temporarily. This is where some sleuthing can come in. Take a peek at the ingredients — maybe you’ve reacted to something in the past and this is a reminder that your body doesn’t agree with that ingredient. Eminence Organic Skin Care products are made without many of the synthetic ingredients that can cause irritation and reactions as we uphold our mission of using the best organic and Biodynamic® ingredients. A reminder to always read the label or ingredients list before trying a new product.
And be mindful of what the reaction is. If it’s swelling, pain and redness, your best bet is to stop use immediately and consult your dermatologist. If the new product causes your skin to break out, maybe you’re just purging. If there’s mild redness and peeling, same idea (hello, retinol) and your skin may just need a couple of weeks to get used to the new product or ingredient. If the breakout is around your mouth, it could be perioral dermatitis (more on that later) and you may need treatment.
Always do a patch test before trying a new product and definitely err on the side of caution and contact your doctor if you’re unsure. As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all diagnosis.
2. Reactions to Dietary Changes
Food reactions, which often manifest on the skin, can be uncomfortable and annoying. This happens whether you’re experiencing a negative response to a new food, or gradually realizing that a certain food doesn’t suit your body chemistry.
Tingling or itching in the mouth can be a telltale sign that all is not well, as can a raised, red itchy rash on the body, the face or the scalp, or swelling of the eyes or lips. While food reactions are generally mild and go away when you stop eating the food, any extreme reactions like breathing difficulties, extreme swelling and light-headedness should be treated as emergencies.
When it comes to these skin reactions, your best bet is to avoid the foods. Some common triggers include gluten, dairy, eggs and soy, and it’s worth getting tested (or doing an elimination diet) to get to the root cause of the issue.
What you eat can show up on your skin in other ways too. Some foods are inflammatory (sugar, wheat, dairy and salt, among others) and reducing intake can cause a reduction in puffiness and flaky skin. Eating a balanced diet — filled with good fats from salmon, nuts, seeds and avocados, lots of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins — is the best way to maintain the look of healthy, glowing skin (in other words, your skin is reacting in a good way). And don’t forget to drink enough water.
3. Reactions To Weather
If you’ve ever had a sunburn in the summer or dry, itchy skin in the winter, your skin has reacted to weather. While usually these reactions are easy to identify, they can be dangerous and you’re better off avoiding them altogether if possible.
Too much time in the sun with too little sunscreen can result in an almost immediate redness, swelling, followed by blistering of the skin, itch and peeling. It can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “even one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma later in life.” And don’t forget, you can also get a sunburn when it’s cloudy out. This is your reminder to wear SPF all year long, even indoors, and cover the skin with protective clothing — especially when spending time outdoors in the hot sun.
If you’re faced with a sunburn, our Product Support Team has some recommendations for ingredients that can help soothe, calm and treat the skin. Aloe vera, stone crop and botanical hyaluronic acid are soothing and moisturizing for dry, irritated skin. Vitamins C and E are important for sun damaged skin relief and recovery. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radical damage, preventing damage caused by UV rays. Vitamin E visibly diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin texture. Chamomile and echinacea are known to provide relief for sunburned skin, and coconut oil has moisturizing, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
While hot sun can cause your skin to react, the opposite end of the spectrum, cold weather, can do a number on it as well. Cold air can leave skin dry, chapped and even cracked. And indoor heating and hot baths can further strip moisture from the skin. To combat the dryness and other issues that come up during the winter, treat your skin with hydration and exfoliate to get rid of dry, flaky skin. Find a whole winter skin care routine here.
4. Reactions To New Ingredients
Sometimes the smallest tweak to your routine can cause a reaction. Something as simple as a new laundry detergent or toothpaste could send your skin into a tizzy. Certain ingredients just don’t work for some people, so it’s important to consider that if a reaction seems to come out of nowhere. If a reaction happens in a certain area, consider any changes you may have made. A new toothpaste, irritants from shaving cream and even certain types of chewing gum can bring on a condition called perioral dermatitis, a red rash that can appear around the mouth. Often mistaken for acne, this unsightly and often painful condition could be a reaction. If you can trace a breakout to a new product, cease and desist immediately and symptoms should clear up. If not, see your dermatologist to discuss treatments.
Body washes, lotions and laundry detergents often contain additives and chemicals like preservatives, parabens, colors, emulsifiers and fragrance that can cause sensitivity or allergic reactions that present as itching, hives or rashes. Always read product labels before trying new things and rest assured that Eminence Organics products are free of animal by-products, petroleum, propylene glycol, harmful fragrances and colorants and parabens. Another common ingredient that can cause or exacerbate the condition is SLS, or sodium lauryl sulfate, which is used in many facial cleansers. Eminence products contain no SLS, so making the switch to one of our organic cleansers can be a good first step.
If your skin is reacting and you’re not sure of the cause, consult with your dermatologist to get to the root cause or if you suspect an allergic reaction.
5. Reactions To Stress
Much of what we know about how stress affects the body is via symptoms like elevated heart rate, stiff or tense muscles, low energy and digestive issues. But stress also plays a significant role in how your skin looks and feels, whether you experience tension on a chronic level or not. There are a few ways it can show up — from irritation and rashes to eczema, dry skin, acne and dark circles under the eyes. The best way to combat stress in your life is to address it from all angles. Meditation and yoga can help, as can exercise and a healthy diet filled with non-inflammatory foods and lots of water! When stress shows up on skin, it’s important to look into which aspects of your life might be contributing and see what tweaks you can make — after all, health is about the full body, inside and out.
Are you dealing with skin reactions and not sure what is causing them? For a skin care routine tailored to your unique skin type and concerns, book a consultation with a licensed esthetician at an Eminence Organics Spa Partner near you.