Skin Health
Mythfoliation: If I Get a Reaction, The Last Product I Applied Is The Problem
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The Final Straw: When A Reaction Occurs, The Last Product Applied Has To Be The Culprit, Right?

I never get rashes/acne but just did after using a new product. Clearly, it’s the culprit, right?

Maybe not. While it seems like the logical conclusion, we can’t yet cry “the newbie did it!”. The last product is simply not automatically the culprit.

CASE STUDY: Dermatologists regularly report cases similar to that of “Jane’,” who has used products A, B and C for many years without a problem.

All three products had allergens but Jane seemed to be able to use them just fine.

One day, she decided to try a new product and developed red rashes on her face. She quickly concluded that it was the last product that caused the problem.

Jane’s doctor asked her to immediately stop all products for 7 days then to re-start each one at a time.

The doctor also gave Jane a patch test using a standard patch test tray as well as all her regular products and the newest product she tried. The patch test showed that Jane was actually allergic to ingredients that were present in all of her first three products. But if this were so, why didn’t Jane develop a rash to them earlier?

Jane’s doctor explained that since her exposure to these ingredients was in such small quantities over time, her skin’s repeated irritation was minimal and not noticeable. The exposure was, however, steady and cumulative, and eventually got to the point where Jane’s skin could have reacted to almost any new product, safe or not.

Still skeptical? The patch test also revealed that the newest product, the one that was so “obviously” the culprit, was the only one Jane was not allergic to. Jane’s skin had been so steadily exposed to allergens she was sensitive to, that by the time she tried the new product, her skin was already so previously irritated that it reacted.

Similar developments can happen in other skin and health conditions. You could be fine around a certain amount of pollen, but realize that you’re sensitive to it if you move to a location with a higher pollen count. You could happen to just have lots of moles…but with enough sun exposure, you increase the chance of one of them becoming cancerous. If you constantly use products with acne-causing ingredients, your skin may be tolerating what it can and is waiting for you to add just one more thing (a promotion to a new job with more stress; moving to a city that’s warmer; even a treatment that deep-cleans pores), to finally break out.

This is why prevention is key, not only after a problem develops; it is a good idea all the time.

To avoid such sudden reactions in skin care:

  • Try to stick to one brand or just a few. Products formulated, tested, and manufactured by one company stand a better (but not guaranteed) chance of sharing the same quality and protocols, and of working well together. Also, the company will be better able to give you support because while their representatives should have been trained on all the products that they make, they’ll probably have little knowledge about other brands’ products.
  • Always do a VMV Provisional Patch Test before purchasing a new product.
  • Always introduce new products one at a time, with at least 3 days in between to make sure you’re not allergic.
  • And always practice prevention. Choose validated hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic products. 

Click here for more about reactions.

Click here for the 7-Day Skin Fast (first aid for reactions).

Click here for more on hypoallergenicity.

Click here to learn about the VH-Rating System.

Click here to read the VH-Rating System’s proven efficacy.

Click here to learn about the VH-Rating System’s validity as a method for substantiating hypoallergenic claims.