Skin Irritation or Allergy?

by beautifulwithbrains

how to tell if it's a skin irritation or allergy

Is it an irritation? Is it an allergy?

When you react badly to a beauty product, it’s hard to tell. The symptoms are often the same. So, how can you figure out what you’re dealing with?


What causes it?

Harsh chemicals (and mind you, everything – including plants – are made of chemicals), and strong cleansing agents, like sodium lauryl sulfates.

What are the symptoms?

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Burning and stinging
  • Chapped and scaly skin

How do you recognize it?

The symptoms develop within a few minutes (in rare cases, hours), after one single exposure, and only on the area that was in contact with the offending substance.


What causes it?

An allergy occurs when your immune system becomes hypersensitive after to a substance. It can happen at any time. You may have been using something for decades, without any problems whatsoever, and then, one crappy day, your body decides it’s an enemy and starts producing antibodies to fight it.

What are the symptoms?

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Burning and stinging
  • Chapped and scaly skincare
  • Hives

How do you recognize it?

Symptoms can develop anywhere on your body. Oh, and the itchiness is so much worse.

Have you ever had a bad reaction to a beauty product?

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Nikki January 28, 2009 - 3:10 pm

Thanks for the differences 🙂 I think I have both 🙂 But I mostly suffer from Skin Irritations 😀

taraseason January 29, 2009 - 12:37 am

Hi Nikki,

I’m sorry to hear that you have skin sensitivities and allergies. I don’t know how much use this will be for you depending on your locale, but I work for THRIVE Allergy Expo here in Chicago. We are producing a large scale business to consumer expo dedicated to providing the best and most effective products for people with skin allergies, sensitivities, and conditions as well as for people with food, respiratory, eye and latex alleriges at McCormick Place on April 18-19th, 2009.

If you are able to attend, you will have the opportunity to find skin allergy relief, learn more about skin allergy triggers from medical physicians and professional and non-profit organizations whose missions are related to skin.

Actually, please visit our website at and you will see all the non-profit skin organizations we are affiliated with. They are a wonderful resource for product recommendations.

Good luck!

sab January 29, 2009 - 4:36 am

oh wow! i usually refer to them as the same. haha! thanks gio!

prettybeautiful January 29, 2009 - 8:02 am

yeah same as nikki, i suffer alot of skin irritation =/ and thts really annoying!

beautifulwithbrains January 29, 2009 - 8:58 pm

NIkki: I’m sorry to hear that. Different ingredients can cause different reactions but as long as you know what ingredients are causing the problems you can avoid them and be fine 🙂

taraseason: thanks for sharing. It is a very nice initiative.

sab: you’re welcome. Lots of people do, hope this helps to clear the confusion!

prettybeautiful: I’m sorry to hear that. Unfortunately there are a lot of ingredients that can cause iritation, esp if you have sensitive skin. It must be very frustrating.


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