How to do a skin patch test

by Gio
how to do a skin patch test

Did you know that any ingredient – even something innocuous like chamomile or water – can cause an irritation or allergy to someone?

Yep, even natural ingredients. I mean, there are people out there who are allergic to water. And what’s more natural and safe than water?!

Why am I telling you all this? You don’t want to slather a cream all over your face just to see it turn red, and feel it itching like mad.

That’s why brands always recommend you perform a patch test, first. It’s there, written on the label. But we all ignore it, thinking we don’t need it.

I’m guilty of this, too. Most of the time, I don’t do patch tests… But, when I pick a product that has even one ingredient I have never used before, then, yes, I’ll take the time to do a patch test first. Here’s how:

What Is A Patch Test?

A patch test is a way to determine if a product will cause a negative reaction on your skin. It is usually done on a small area, like the wrist. That way, if an irritation or allergy occurs, the damage is limited and easy to treat. At the very least, it’s easy to cover up with a top or bangles.

Why Should You Do A Patch Test?

Because you never know what you could be allergic to.

Truth bomb: you can become allergic to anything at any time.

It’s not a joke or an exaggeration. You can literally use a cream with calendula for 10 year straight, and after 10 years and 1 day, develop an allergy to calendula.

It’s not as rare as you’d like to think. In the past few years that natural skincare has seen a revival, more and more people are complaining their skin is becoming more and more sensitive. Coincidence? I think not.

Essentials oils are notorious for causing allergies… But in case you think I’m picking on natural skincare, synthetic ingredients can pull the same trick, too.

Don’t wait until you develop a nasty rash on your face. Do a patch test first.

Related: 7 Natural Ingredients That Can Irritate Sensitive Skin

Want to know what ingredients you really need to avoid in your skincare products? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the β€œSkincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet:

Who Should Do A Patch Test?

Everyone should do a patch test, period.

But, it’s particularly important for people with sensitive skin, rosacea, acne, eczema, etc… If your skin is prone to sensitivities and irritations, NEVER put a product on your face without doing a patch test first. It’s just asking for trouble.

Related: How To Deal With Rosacea

How Do I Do A Patch Test?

Doing a patch test is super easy:

  1. Choose a small area that’ll act as guinea pig. As I already mentioned, I do it on the inside of my wrist.
  2. Apply a small amount of product to the area and wait for 24 hours.
  3. During this time, keep checking for signs of negative reactions, such as swelling, redness, itching, or burning.
  4. Is something off? If you’re developing any of the symptoms above, wash the area off with water IMMEDIATELY. Nothing’s happening? Go on, use it on your face (or body). It’s safe.

The Bottom Line

A patch test may be a nuisance, but it can also save you from a lot of pain. Don’t skip it!

Do you usually do patch tests? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



Shuu July 30, 2009 - 3:14 pm

Thanks for the tips Gio! It’s very useful.. I’m pretty lazy to do a patch test myself πŸ˜› Luckily my skin is not so rebellious most of the time lol
.-= Shuu´s last blog ..Super Late NYX mini haul =-.

Dao July 30, 2009 - 5:35 pm

I’m lazy to do the patch test and I know I should πŸ™‚
.-= Dao´s last blog ..Hair of the Week =-.

beautifulwithbrains July 30, 2009 - 6:55 pm

Shuu: you’re welcome. Lucky you! I am the same, I rarely have negative reactions so I often think I can skip doing a patch test. Hope I won’t have to regret it one day though.

Dao: me too. I know it’s important but still I don’t do it. πŸ™‚

Vonvon July 31, 2009 - 1:37 pm

Errr…..I know it’s always good to do a patch test especially when trying new products, but I am lazy. My skin has been quite good to many products I have tried and tested.

But my 1st Origins sample I tried(it’s supposed to be suitable for sensitive skin, so I took it for granted though I don’t have sensitive skin) and my skin reacted quite ‘violently’ to it. I wrote an account of this in my blog under label “Origins”.

I don’t know the lazy me would learn from this or not πŸ˜› but I’ll definitely be more careful with products from Origins in future. I will definitely do a patch test with subsequent Origins products that I am going to try out!! πŸ™‚
.-= Vonvon´s last blog ..Bobbi Brown Makeover – EOTD: Soft Smoky Look =-.

beautifulwithbrains August 2, 2009 - 2:27 pm

I’m sorry to hear that Vonvon. I read your posts and I’ve had the same experience with a Bottega Verde cream. My face was all warm and flushed, it was scary! Do you know which ingredient caused it? But being more careful with Origins products is probably a very good idea πŸ™‚
I tend to think that because my skin doesn’t get irritated easily and most products work for me, I don’t need to do a skin patch test. We should both learn from our mistakes, but somehwo I don’t think it will be so easy. πŸ™‚


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