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Dermal Diagnosis by Dermal Health Science

Normal reactions vs. Allergic skin reactions

Whether your skin is happy with the new product or not, you’re bound to notice a reaction, which can range from mild stinging, burning, and itching to red rashes and skin swelling.

It can be an expected irritation reaction - like the mild stinging from an acid-based product or the peeling and redness from using a topical retinoid. An actual allergic reaction, in contrast - could be painful and long-lived, instead of a mild bout of side effects. If a product stings your skin beyond tolerance: Wash it off. Try the product again in a few days in a small area, and see if your skin can tolerate it better.

Easing your skin into the new regimen

When starting a new product or regimen, pay close attention to how your skin talks back to you. Check for dry skin, flaking, redness, and of course, acne. If your skin becomes dry, red, and irritated from a product (and this can be an expected result from certain products like chemical exfoliators), reduce the frequency of use: Start one to three times a week. Give your skin a few days between applications to get used to it.

Time frame for showing results

Most skincare products with active ingredients can take about two months to show efficacy. These include topical antioxidants, retinoids, and pigmentation treatment.

Stinging from active ingredients

Experiencing stinging from active ingredients

You may experience tingling and stinging from active ingredients. This is where it may get confusing - Not all products should sting! It all depends on the product and the elements. Many proven skin-care ingredients, like acids and retinoids, might sting; in that particular case, they're supposed to. Tingling and stinging for these types of active ingredients are to be expected and even beneficial if it is for a short period. The desired result is immediate inflammation and then skin peeling. This reaction encourages new collagen growth and cellular renewal.

However, there is a fine balance. Skincare products should not cause prolonged burning and irritation. Stop using the product if you have an allergic reaction, such as the eyelid, lip swelling, or hives. If your adverse skin reaction doesn’t improve in a few days after discontinuing the product and you can’t manage it with over-the-counter skin-calming options, see your medical practitioner. Tingling and stinging sensations from irritating and sensitising ingredients can harm your skin, accelerate the ageing process, and worsen skin conditions like acne and rosacea.


Mild temporary dryness or flaking is expected when using glycolic products because of dead skin cells startingto shed.. We suggest wiping off your facial cleanser with a lukewarm facecloth or microfibre sponge. This will help to remove the loose, flaking, dead skin cells.

Signs that you experience sensitivity reactions

Signs you experience sensitivity reactions

Signs that you may experience sensitivity reactions include: The eye area looks crinkled, dry, puckered, or wrinkled, making your eye area look older; this is a temporary side-effect. Cutting back on applications will allow the dead cells to stick together, causing the skin to pull together or pucker like a scab, to flake or exfoliate off, returning your skin to normal. We suggest wiping off your facial cleanser with a lukewarm facecloth. This will help to remove the loose, flaking, dead skin cells. Thinner skin around your eyes, mouth, neck, and nose is sensitive. Reducing applications in these areas until your skin adjusts will solve the problem. Eventually, these areas will catch up with the rest of your face, and all sites will have the same application schedule.

Management of dry, red, or sensitive skin

Help, my skin is dry, red, or sensitive. Not a problem. Just follow the below steps. Let your skin tell you what is right, and you will be on your way to confident skin.

  • Apply your cleanser to a wet face and rinse off after 1 min. or less.
  • Apply your Glycolic gel / Salicylic gel to a wet face, or mix half with water or a moisturiser in the palm of your hand before applying.
  • Gradually decrease the water and/or moisturiser per application until you can apply your product directly to your skin without side effects.
  • Use your facial cleanser only once per day. Use your cleanser as described in option 1.
  • Use your Glycolic gel / Salicylic gel only once per week. Stay on this level for four weeks, gradually increasing to twice per week over time. If you are able to tolerate the product, you may use Glycolic gel every second night. The salicylic gel can be used daily until acne or pore congestion has cleared up.
  • Step 1: Stop all chemical exfoliating products, wait until your skin returns to normal, and resume with the below "pulse treatment" schedule. This stops problems by giving your skin time to rest between applications. When your skin has adjusted, the applications are increased.
  • Step 2: When skin returns to normal use your facial cleanser once per day. Apply your cleanser on a wet face to dilute the potency.
  • Step 3: After one week, use your Glycolic gel / Salicylic gel once weekly for four weeks. Mix with water or moisturiser in the palm of your hand before application. Stop diluting slowly over some time until applying straight to your skin without irritation.
  • Step 4: If you don't experience any side effects of dryness, irritation, redness, or stinging, start washing your face twice per day.
  • Step 5: If you don't experience any side effects of dryness, irritation, redness, or stinging, start applying your Glycolic gel / Salicylic gel twice per week.
  • Step 6: Slowly increase the frequency of use as tolerated.
  • If irritation re-appears, start with step 1 in managing your reactions.