Hey guys, it’s Jane back on the blog today! Sometime last month, I hid my face from the world for an entire week.
As an extreme extrovert (I took the Myers Briggs test and found out that I’m 99% extroverted if you can believe it), that was really hard for me to do. The reason for my week-long hibernation? I put something on my face that my skin didn’t like and had a really bad reaction towards. In less than 5 minutes of using BPO, my entire face felt like it was on fire and became full-on red, itchy and dry all over. This reaction is also commonly known as dermatitis.
After having a mini meltdown, I immediately washed my face with cold water, used a gentle cleanser to remove all my makeup, rolled my face with super cold face roller I thankfully left in the freezer, and melted a few ice cubes on my face while I laid down and tried to figure out what the necessary next steps were. In a desperate attempt to calm my severely irritated skin down, all I really knew to do after my face felt a bit “cooler” was to add some aloe vera from my boyfriend’s plant to help soothe it.
Then what? I asked Siri, searched the internet, and sent a very unflattering red-faced selfie to a handful of my close friends to see if any of them knew what I should do. End result? Everyone had 1-2 helpful tips but no one REALLY knew what all the necessary steps were, so I turned to the experts.
Thankfully, my friends at Kate Somerville brought me into their clinic a couple times and gave me their calming “white light” treatment where I legitimately fell asleep both times. Here’s a little Q+A I had with one of their OG estheticians about the treatment:
Q: How exactly does it calm irritated skin?
A: White light penetrates the deepest and works to tighten and reduce inflammation. There is no heat at the surface so it stimulates less blood flow.
Q: What does it do that you can’t do topically?
A: It activates cells to repair themselves instead of product just soothing topically.
Q: If you have a bad reaction to something, how often should you get it? Once or twice a week?
A: Depending on the severity of the reaction, you could do it every third day until the reaction has subsided or even one time could work.
I realized that I was in such a lucky position to actually be able to receive these sessions given the nature of my work, so I asked what I should do if I did not have access (or the budget) to afford such treatments.
And although I would not wish dermatitis on a single soul (not even my sworn arch nemesis), I gathered a list from the skin gurus on what you should do in the event that you find yourself having a bad reaction on your skin:
- Wash your face with cold water and a gentle cleanser that is non-irritating and non-drying. Hot water can irritate your skin even more and strip moisture from your now very dry skin. Avoid anything with fragrance in it as it can irritate your skin even further. Since dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that can lead to itchiness, it’s best to use a super gentle cleanser like this or this one. Stay away from cleansers with a lot of chemicals and fragrances. The more natural, the better.
- Pat dry your skin with a towel vs. rubbing it so you don’t irritate it any further.
- If you don’t have a great face roller yet, I highly recommend sticking this one in the freezer. Not only does it cool t f out of your skin but it’s also good for de-puffing your face from allergies or *cough cough* last night’s hangover and is also under $30. You’re welcome.
- Avoid wearing any makeup until your skin calms down. You don’t want to clog your pores or irritate your skin any further. Plus… you look good.
- Use a humidifier at home to add some more moisture into the air. A humidifier is also good if you, like me, are very sensitive to dry weather and/or have sensitive skin.
The only products you should use while your skin’s renewing and recovering are:
- Aloe Vera (even better if you just clip some from your plant at home. Mother Nature truly is the best and there ain’t nothing better than the real thing)
- Cortizone (mix it with a mineral-based SPF moisturizer when using during the day)
- An extremely gentle cleanser
- A moisturizing cream (I LOVE this one because it feels super gentle, non-irritating and good for the face and entire body). A moisturizer like this that contains ceramides helps with recovery time and helps skin keep moisture in and irritants out while maintaining the skin’s barrier. Also good for those of you that have eczema
- A mineral-based sunscreen. Avoid aerosol spray SPF’s as they tend to have more chemicals in them which can tend to irritate your skin.
- Optional: A calming serum. Once my skin was feeling a little better by day 4, I reintroduced this serum into my routine as it’s plant-based, soothing, helps with redness, itchiness, and overall dryness
Repeat these steps until your skin fully heals, drink plenty of water, and DO NOT scratch your face.
PSA: If your skin is really inflamed and bothersome, please go see a professional dermatologist. I am no expert by all means but these are the steps and products that worked best for me so I wanted to share them with you all.
So here’s to never having dermatitis but in the event you do happen to get it, know that I got you fam! If you have any other tried and true recommendations that have worked on your end, @ me and let me know!
In case you missed my other stories and care for another read, you can catch my winged eyeliner tutorial here, my thoughts on Comfort Being a Privilege here, 8 Tips to Help you Sleep Better (for Real) here, All the Ways to Love Yourself here and how to travel like an actual b-o-$-$ here.
Bye for now!
Photography by Karla Ticas | Location: La Peer Hotel