Have you ever heard of patch testing skincare products prior to using? Perhaps an esthetician, makeup artist or a friend mentioned this way to find out if a product is compatible with your skin? Patch testing can be done with a wide array of cosmetics and skincare products, really anything you apply to your skin or body topically.


Everyone is different and even simple things like essential oils, fragrances or dyes could trigger irritations. Some individuals are highly sensitive or even allergic to certain things and may even suffer potentially strong reactions and rashes.

An adverse reaction can happen to anyone, not just those with sensitive skin, so patch testing prior to using any new item is a great way to make sure your skin only gets the best.

Here are 3 easy steps for patch testing:

 Step 1: Dispense a small pea size amount (or less) of the product and pat it onto the skin, either on the back of the wrist or elbow if it’s a body product and on the back of the neck just behind the ear lobe for facial items.

 Step 2: Leave the product on the skin unwashed for a period of 24 hours, unless the product directions require rinsing or removing. If that’s the case, follow the directions, but still only apply to the small, designated patch test area.

 Step 3: Wait and watch to see if your skin has any reactions. Classic characteristics include redness, irritation, visible rashes, breakouts, itchiness, burning, pain, flaking, etc. If you noticed any of these reactions, the item may not be for you.

In serious cases, contact dermatitis may occur and that is when the skin comes in direct contact with an allergen which causes a reaction. Hives can appear in more severe cases and are an inflammation of the skin caused by the immune system releasing histamine. This causes small blood vessels to leak, leading to swelling in the skin.  There is also angioedema, which is swelling in the deepest layers of the skin, usually appearing with hives. If any of these signs present themselves, stop use immediately and see your doctor to discuss the reaction.

If you do not have a reaction, go ahead and start to use the product! It is likely that the item will be all right for your skin type. Whenever starting a new product just take notice of the good or maybe concerning changes taking place within the skin. Sometimes it can be the amount of product applied that can causes an adverse reaction, and if that’s the case, stop using immediately with any signs of an allergic reaction occurring. Keep in mind that products can evolve and be reformulated and something that once worked all of a sudden isn’t the same and might even cause a change in the skin.


AskOurEstyCatie Wiggy is the Director of Education for MyChelle Dermaceuticals. She has been working in the skin care industry for over 13 years as a makeup artist, brand educator, manager, innovator and licensed esthetician. She holds several certifications in esthetics and has hands-on experience with chemical peels, microdermabrasions, acne management and anti-aging treatments.

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