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The Sensitive Skin Care User Guide



In seventh grade, I discovered that I was allergic to benzoyl peroxide the most common ingredient in acne washes. Benzoyl peroxide is utilized in acne treatment products as it unclogs skin pores and stops bacteria from growing from within. 

CREDIT: Adobe Stock

According to the University of Michigan, benzoyl peroxide can initially cause acne to worsen and skin to become very dry and/or peel. It is not a quick fix, but after using it,  I quickly learned that my skin didn’t react well to it. I began developing swelling, redness, and stinging after one to two days of using it. My skin started to resemble a chipmunk and lizard hybrid. 



From that moment, I was in shock and rushed to my dermatologist’s office. They gave me the good news; 80% of my acne cleared. It wasn’t exactly what is portrayed in the acne wash commercials. However, my dermatologist informed me that I was, in fact, allergic to benzoyl peroxide, even at the lowest dose (2.5%). They suggested that I use petroleum jelly on my face to ease out the irritation.   

Nonetheless, lessons have been learned, and I am here to share them with you! 

When trying new products, such as hair dyes, cosmetics and skin products, it’s always best to be precautious. You want to ensure that the product you’ll be using won’t cause irritation, redness, rashes and more. According to the CDC, allergic reactions to products can either happen within the first use or after multiple uses.

When testing products, always try it first on a small area, such as your wrist, and make sure to follow the directions and be aware of the warnings mentioned on the product labels. If any problems occur, stop using the product immediately. 

According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, cosmetic products and its ingredients do not need to be FDA approved before going on the market. The companies and parties involved in marking cosmetics have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. The FDA has gathered lists related to cosmetic ingredients individuals often inquire about; Learn more about them here


Helpful reminders: 

  • Wash your skin before and after applying your skin care products.
  • If you have an upcoming event, try your new products at least 2 weeks before and read the product’s reviews before use!
  • Speak to your dermatologist, doctor or other health care professional if you have any questions or concerns regarding possible allergic reactions.
  • Apply sunscreen throughout the day. Your skin will thank you!
  • Use fragrance free products if your skin tends to get dry easily as products that contain fragrance may irritate your skin. 
  • Never try new products alone, always have someone around with you. A friend or family member can help monitor for any allergic reactions.