Recently the FDA issued a warning stating that common ingredients, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, can cause severe allergic reactions. Before skincare companies begin to churn out “anti” anti-acne advertising campaigns in favor of their personal alternatives, let’s hop in and douse the flames. If you haven’t had a reaction yet, then you are most likely in the clear.
Anything that we put onto our skin has the potential to cause a negative reaction. Some cause itching and burning; others, swelling and redness. You could even break out in hives. But what about throat tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, fainting or low blood pressure? What about swollen lips and eyes? Would you automatically associate these symptoms to an allergic reaction to skincare? Not many would, which is the reason for the FDA’s warning.
It’s not to say that salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are “bad” ingredients; it just means that those who did experience allergic reactions—since 1969 the FDA has received 131 reports of negative reactions in consumers using gels, lotions, face washes, solutions, cleansing pads, toners and face scrubs containing these ingredients—went beyond the normal signs of itching, swelling, burning and hives.
In reality, these symptoms could occur with any skincare product, so don’t ignore these signs just because you don’t use acne treatments. You never know what is going to cause a reaction. Here are a few tips for anyone using treatment products from acne to anti-aging:
1. Know your body. If you know that your period comes with headaches, lightheadedness, breakouts or just overall craziness, avoid trying new skincare products. You don’t want to pass off any potential allergic reactions as “period-related issues.”
2. Patch tests do work. Test the product on a small area of your body that’s well hidden for a few days and keep track of how you feel and what you see. Reactions can occur immediately or over the course of a few usages, so give it time to make sure you’re safe.
3. Don’t push your luck. Stop using a product immediately if you experience a negative reaction. Thinking that your skin will eventually get used to it can seriously put your health at risk.
4. Read the labels. Seeking medical attention is always the preferred route when it comes to allergic reactions. But you can help by reading labels and comparing the ingredients of products that your skin loves to the one that caused the issue. By process of elimination, you can rule out the ingredients that you have used before with no issues and help your doctor identify the suspect ingredients.