When your skin has had, or is having an adverse reaction to a product this does not necessarily mean you have had an ‘allergic reaction’.
There are two types of adverse responses your skin can have a product when it is applied to your skin; a hypersensitive reaction and an allergic reaction.
Here are some simple and easy ways you can to remember differences between a skin reaction and an allergic reaction. If ever in doubt always seek medical advice
|Hypersensitive Reaction||Allergic Reaction|
|Cause||Reaction triggered by an impaired Barrier Function of the skin through lack of care or incorrect product usage.||Barrier Function is the skin is impaired through genetic factors where the skin is in a constant state of hyper-reactivity.|
|Reaction Time||Reaction is usually felt and appears instantly||Reaction may take anywhere from 6-48 hours to develop|
|Feels Like||Stinging, burning, itching instantly||Stinging, burning, itching that increases in intensity as the immune system responds|
|Which Skin Types are prone?||Any Skin Type can have a hypersensitive reaction to a product||Sensitive Skin Types prone to flushing, irritation and possible system illnesses such as asthma, hayfever and eczema more likely to have allergic reactions|
|Time it takes for the reaction to subside||Reactions subside within 10 minutes of removal of the product||Allergic reaction can take 6-48 hours to develop and weeks to subside|
|Localised or Systemic||Only appear where the product has been applied meaning it is a localised reaction||May appear all over the body not always just where the product has been applied meaning it is a systemic reaction that occurs|
|Medical Attention||Doesn’t normally require any medical intervention; immediate removal of the product and cold compressing settles the discomfort||Requires medical intervention and attention – anaphylaxis is a risk for some|
|Where to from here?||Avoid the use of the product and reintroduce later when the skin barrier is repaired||Have skin testing conducted by a medical specialist to find the exact ingredient causing the allergic reaction and avoid it for future|
Please note: this chart is designed as a guide only and should not be used as a medical diagnostic tool.
Seek immediate medical attention in the event of anaphylaxis.
Good skin care and a regular routine is always the key to maintaining the health of the barrier function of your skin to prevent hypersensitive – and minimise the chances of allergic – reactions.
Identifying Inflammation by Annet King
Sensitive Versus Sensitized: The Genetic Difference by Dr. Diana Howard
A comprehensive online rosacea information resource
National Rosacea Society
A website about the medical condition rosacea