Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer Allergic Reaction | My Story



Sigh, yet another product to add to my skincare/makeup allergy list: Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

This is going to be quite a long post, but I want to share as much as I can about my allergic reaction experiences in hopes it will help someone who may also be allergic to the same products/ingredients.

Suffering from a skin allergic reaction is definitely extremely frustrating for more reasons than one.

Physically, your skin may feel itchy, hot, swollen, dry, and tight. If the reaction is more severe, you may even have some blisters/pustules that ooze (yikes!).

Psychologically, I always feel extremely frustrated because there are so many unknowns.

It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the reaction, especially since some reactions are delayed. Thus, you may not show any signs of an allergy until 24-72 hours after exposure to the allergen (this has always been the case in my allergic contact dermatitis reactions to skincare products).

You may be able to narrow it down to which product caused the reaction, but it's extremely difficult to determine which exact ingredient is the culprit since most products contain well over 10 ingredients.

To add to the frustration, it's hard to predict how the reaction will progress. How swollen and red does my face look now? Will I scratch my face unknowingly during my sleep and cause scars? Will it get worse tomorrow? How long will it last? Will I wake up looking like Alex Hitchens during the frantic allergy scene in Hitch? So many unknowns!!!


My personal experience:
Here's a brief timeline of how my allergic reaction progressed & symptoms experienced.

Day 1: Used Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer on face morning & night, no signs of a reaction.

Day 2: Used morning & night, slight itching on my cheeks at night but no bumps or visible redness.

Day 3: Woke up with a swollen face that felt hot/warm to the touch with small red raised bumps. Face was extremely itchy; redness on face looks patchy. I think I subconsciously apply more moisturizer to the left side of my face, and I noticed the left side of my face was more swollen (my left eye area was so swollen you couldn't see my eyelid fold anymore). I stopped using the moisturizer this day.

Day 4: Woke up with small red raised bumps still present. Very small pustules formed in certain areas (the area where I initially dabbed the moisturizer on my face). Skin felt more itchy than the day before but appeared slightly less swollen. Skin had some very small, dry, flaky patches.

Day 5: Woke up with less swelling/redness and itching was only mild throughout the day. Small raised bumps still present all over my face. Skin felt very dry.

Day 6: Significantly less itchiness, redness subsided, small bumps less noticeable. Small flaky patches still present on my cheeks and around my nose. Skin feels more dry than normal.

Day 7: Slight redness still present (face looked slightly sunburnt). Small raised bumps barely noticeable. No itching or swelling.

Day 8-10: No redness, but skin is still flaky and dry.

Day 11: Skin returns to normal (yay!!!!)


So what can you do to manage this skin allergic reaction?
The symptoms will subside on their own in a week or so; however, there are some tips you can keep in mind to help you get get through the reaction.
  • Stop using the product right away.
  • Don't scratch. I know how hard it is, but scratching already sensitive skin could potentially cause scarring or infection. 
  • Try not to touch irritated areas; but if you have to, gently pat skin to relieve itching.
  • Cool oatmeal or an oatmeal wash can help soothe your skin and relive itching temporarily.
  • Medication. If you cannot resist scratching, consider taking over-the-counter benadryl by mouth (at bedtime) to help with itching. Unfortunately, benadryl hasn't helped relieve any of my skin allergic reaction symptoms.
    For me personally, oral corticosteroid doses (prednisone) helped reduce the itching and swelling. Oral steroids are usually reserved for severe cases and you will need to see your doctor to get a prescription. 
  • Keep your skin moisturized with a non-comedogenic fragrance free moisturizer that you've used with no issues in the past.
  • Avoid taking hot showers or washing your face with hot water as this can further dry out your skin and increase irritation.
  • Don't dwell on what your reaction looks like. It's easy to feel self-conscious about what your face looks like while going through this allergic reaction, but worrying about it is not going to change anything. Just focus on getting through your day as normally as possible, and DO NOT SCRATCH.
  • Keep track of your symptoms in case you have another skin allergic reaction in the future. You'll feel less anxious if you already know how your skin will heal.
  • Test products on a small area on your neck or inner wrist before using all over the face.

Other products I have had an allergic reaction to: 
I am also allergic to mango skin -- very strange, I know.
I have eaten pre-cut mangoes with no issues, but one time I cut my own mango and decided to bite the mango fruit off the skin. NEVER AGAIN. I had a serious allergic skin reaction that persisted for over a week. It was bad -- I'm talking oozing small blisters all around my mouth and on my cheeks.

My mango skin allergic reaction was way worse than any skincare product ever caused. I did some research and found out that mango skin contains urushiol, which is an organic oil found in poison ivy/oak/sumac. Well, heck!! I used to get poison ivy every summer when I was a kid. Now that I know how hypersensitive my immune system is, I avoid mangos all together.

Not sure if this is relevant, but I also have a shellfish/crustacean sensitivity. My lips get tingly/swollen/itchy when I eat shrimp/crab/lobster, but it subsides after a few hours.


Photos:
I am including these photos in hopes it will help someone identify their allergic reaction. I know some people get irked by photos of skin conditions, so I have posted these photos as smaller images in this post. You can click on the photo to see the full size image.


First day allergic reaction symptoms appeared.
The left photo is a close-up of the redness.
The lighting in right photo really depicts how bumpy my skin appeared.

The next day, you can still see the bumpiness and redness.
Small, dry, flaky patches present on my cheeks.

Finally the bumpiness starts to improve.

I decided to apply the product on my inner wrist. Yup, it caused bumpy redness.


When the allergic reaction finally cleared, this is my normal skin tone/texture:


Below are photos I took from my Hope In A Jar allergy from 2 years ago:



I guess it's safe to conclude that I'm done experimenting with different skincare products :( . I have had very good results from Shiseido and SK-II skincare; I just wish they weren't so pricey! but I guess I'm just going to have to stick with it since I know my skin responds well to those brands.

To those who are currently experiencing an allergic skin reaction, I wish you the best of luck! I really hope this post helps someone out there. You'll get through this :) What products are you allergic to? Feel free to share you allergy experiences below to help others out! 

64 comments:

  1. I recently tried a sample of the Kate Somerville moisturizer and didn't like the way it felt on my skin... but I didn't get an allergy to it like you did. It sucks that you had such a bad reaction :-( hope you don't get anymore allergic reactions ~

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment and your kind words : ) Hopefully no allergic reactions for anyone in the near future!

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  2. I had the same reaction. I have never had an allergic reaction to any products before. Any idea what ingredient is to blame?

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    1. It's so hard to say what the possible culprit ingredient is : ( If I had to guess, I would think it may be the Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract or algae extract? But I'm not so sure. I have used Algenist products which have forms of algae extract in it and Algenist products work wonderfully for me with no reaction. So at this time, I have no idea which ingredient in the Kate Somerville moisturizer caused the allergic reaction : (

      Hope your reaction cleared up quickly!

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  3. I also had a terrible reaction to hope in a jar... it took 2 weeks for my skin to fully return to normal. It was a long 2 weeks : ( Thanks for sharing this post, now I will definitely avoid this Kate Somerville facial cleanser just to be safe!

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    1. I'm sorry you also had to go through this terrible allergic reaction :(( Hopefully no more reactions for us! I've learned to stick with the products I know work well for me instead of being so curious to find new products :) good luck to you!

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  4. omg this just happened to me this week and i had no idea wtf caused it i was freaking out so hard. then i saw this and it all makes sense. the timeline you wrote about matches what happened to me exactly. i cant believe im allergic to this. thank you for your post it really helped calm my anxiety

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    1. It can be very frustrating when you're having a reaction and you don't know what is causing it or even if it's an allergic reaction! I'm glad my post helped! Good luck!! I hope your allergy resolves very very soon!

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  5. Thank you for sharing! This is amazing because I got the EradiKate because I had some random acne and I have never ever had acne before in my 30 odd years so was in a bit of a panic! The Kate Somerville oil free moisturizer was included as a sample so I as my acne started clearing up after 3 days of using EradiKate, I decided to use the oil free moisturizer sample - TRAGIC results. Horrible red rash, scaly skin and white heads all over my forehead. I start a new job on Monday and I am simply devastated. Thank tounfor sharing Lisa. It is good to know I am not alone!

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    1. Oh no! The rash, scaly skin and small whitehead-like bumps = exactly what I experienced, too. Blah! Hang in there!! It'll at least get better by Monday : ) Just remember, you will notice the rash/bumps more than anyone else will. Hope your allergy resolves veryy soon!

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  6. I just want to comment to say thank you for sharing this post. Reading it made me feel so much better about my current allergic reaction. I was seriously having a panic attack about it because I was worried about what everyone will think is wrong with my face all swollen and everything but you are so right when you said that worrying about it won't change anything.
    Ugh. I bought the Blemish Banisher kit from Kate Somerville and I started using all the stuff in it at once so I'm not sure exactly what I'm having a reaction to. But it seems like the moisturizer is a problem for a lot of people. Regardless I am never going to try any of those products ever again. Thanks for this post, it really helped me stay more calm and figure out why this is happening to my skin/face

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    1. I'm so glad this post helped you feel more at ease. An allergic reaction is extremely frustrating :( I know you will get better very soon!

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  7. I am having the same reaction on my face and neck. Did you go to your doctor for treatment or did it clear up on its own? I am taking Zyrtec right now hoping it'll help. I am familiar with these types of reactions since Ive had contact dermatitis on my arms in college, and my doctor prescribed me steriods and creams whiched solved it. However, i do not want to make the trip if the problem could be easily solved on my own.

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    1. It will definitely clear up on it's own in time as long as you no longer use the product that caused the allergic reaction.
      My reaction to lipsticks and self tanners were very itchy and bothersome, but not enough for me to go to the doctor for. I just avoided scratching and used over the counter hydrocortisone cream on the extremely itchy parts.
      However, my reactions to Hope in a Jar, Mangoes, and this Kate Somerville moisturizer were pretty severe so I took oral steroids for those reactions. For me, I consider my reaction severe if it's very swollen and blisters/pustules are present.
      I hope you get better soon!! :)

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  8. Also, thank you very much for sharing your experience! After reading it, I am less conscious about my face appearance.

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    1. No problem! Everyone has different reactions to different things, but I'm glad sharing my experience has helped.
      I remember my first allergic reaction.. I frantically googled symptoms for hours to figure out what was wrong with me. It was definitely nice to realize I'm not alone and the allergy will pass :p I really really hope your reaction resolves very soon!

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    2. Thanks so much for the helpful replies. It's reassuring hearing from someone whom experienced it before. You were definitely right about it clearning up on its own - mine was gone a few days after you replied :)

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    3. Whew! I'm glad yours went away shortly after your post :) Hopefully no more reactions for us! *crosses fingers*

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  9. I am so thankful to finally find someone else with the exact same problem as me. My face looks identical to your skin reaction. Except, mine does not go away!! It's been 6 + months and it has been constant. I was prescribed a hydrocortisone cream and after 4 days of use my skin goes back to normal then all of the sudden after a few weeks it comes back not full force but its there itchy, tight, bumpy. I have completely stopped using makeup, moisturizers, sunscreens, cleansers everything! and it still is there. I'm at my wits end I feel so defeated never have I had even a pimple and then one day this happened. Did you get patch tested by any chance? I have yet to go since I'm currently stationed in Guam and the struggle is real to get seen by a dermatologist let alone an allergist.

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    1. Oh no, yours hasn't gone away in months? I'm so sorry to hear that : ( It sounds like it could be more than an allergic reaction? Since allergic reactions usually clear in a week or so after you eliminate the causative allergen.
      I seriously considered getting patch tests done since there were a few months in the summer where my dust mite allergy (or whatever else I'm allergic to) got pretty severe and my eyes were constantly watering and red/inflamed. But it eventually resolved and I haven't gotten around to see an allergist yet.
      I hope you get to see a dermatologist/allergist soon to help you resolve your skin problem : ( I can't imagine dealing with this reaction for months. Hang in there!

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  10. Yes, it's just allergic contact dermatitis I guess mine is just more severe. It's heartbreaking to have this happen especially so young (I'll be 25 in December) but it does make me feel a little better to know that there are others that have experienced this and that I am not alone. Hopefully in the future a cure of some sort can be found to help cope. Best wishes to you!

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    1. Aw boo! I really hope you find out what you're allergic to soon! Skin problems are so frustrating and a lot of the time the root cause is unknown and treatment is trial and error : ( Best wishes to you, too!

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  11. Thank you so much for you post!!! Same problem with Kate Somerville moisturizer, same frustration!!! Omg!!! My skin looks red, bumpy, hot, scratchy and extremely swollen... Went to dermatologist- must take oral prednisone, cream for a face, allergy pills as well.
    Today is the 3rd day... I am really trying not to cry...
    Your post helped me a lot... I got Kate Somerville sample in a box from Sefora... I wish I put it in a garbage!!! I never had allergy reaction in my life- so upsetting...
    Thank you agai. It helped me a lot.

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    1. Arg, sorry to hear you also had a reaction to this : ( the 3rd day was one of the worst days for me. Hang in there, though. If you started taking prednisone already it should be only improving from here on out : ) keep your chin up and know there is light at the end of the tunnel! I'm glad my post could at least help you feel a bit better. Sending good thoughts your way!

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  12. Thank you soooo much!! Now I feel more secure and confident - my skin is getting better as we speak.
    Still bumpy and itchy but at least not so red and swollen.
    I hope few more days...
    Sincerely,
    Mila



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  13. Thank you for the great detail about your facial reaction to the product. I had a very similar experience with CVS Towelettes with aloe. I am all red burning and bumps and itching man can I identify with that. I'm going to apply my Aveeno moisturizer and hopefully in a day or so it will be gone.. Don't want it to last as long as yours did but your post was sooooo helpful. Happy Holidays!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear this post has helped you feel better. I hope your reaction improves very very soon! Happy happy holidays to you as well :D

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  14. Thank you so much for writing this post! It's helped me confirm that the rash on my face is an allergic reaction; red, scaly and with tiny little cystic bumps.

    I'm possibly having a reaction to the smashbox photofinish foundation primer and foundation water since I started using them around 2 weeks ago and I noticed a few bumps forming on my face on the days after I would use them. Just a heads up to those who also have sensitive skin :(

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    1. Oh noo! I have used the smashbox photofinish primer with no issues but have never tried the water before but I am going to stay away from it just in case. Luckily I have figured out my "ideal" skincare regimen at this time so I will not be trying much new stuff in the future -- especially since I have had so many allergic reactions in the past : (
      Thanks for sharing this with us as a heads up - I really hope your bumps clear very soon!!

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  15. Do you have any allergic reaction to face cleansers?

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    1. Luckily I have not have any allergic reactions to face cleansers so far *crossing my fingers*!

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    2. I have the same bumps and it's red but it's not itchy.
      What face cleanser do you use?

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    3. If you have redness but no itching from a new skin product you started using, it may possibly be skin purging instead of an allergic reaction. Feel free to read up more on skin purging to see if that's what is happening.
      The 2 main skin cleansers I use right now are: Shiseido Pureness cleansing fluid (in the AM), and Philosophy Purity cleanser (at night when I shower). I also really like Shiseido's pureness deep cleansing foam (I got a bunch for cheap at TJMaxx).
      Hope this helps!

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    4. Maybe , it gets more red when I sweat, take a shower or wash my face, when I'm hot or shy and my face gets all red or when I eat spicy food

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  16. Question: Does anyone have a shellfish allergy that has also had a reaction to this moisturizer? I do, and have the same reaction as documented here. It says there is 'Red Marine Algae' in the product, and I remember the doc told me some forms of algae found in seafood can cause allergic reactions. May be the same applied topically? Thanks for the detailed post, Im glad Im not the only one out there!

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    1. I'm also very curious if anyone else has a shellfish allergy and is cross-sensitive to this specific moisturizer!
      I initially thought it may be algae but I have used Algenist eye renewal balm with no issues and it contains Algae Exopolysacharides.
      : ( It stinks that it's so difficult to pinpoint the culprit.
      As a result of all this, I have learned to patch test a few times on a small area on my neck before applying new products all over my face >_< Best of luck to you!

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  17. Thanks a million for posting this! I scoured the internet for what I am dealing with right now which is exactly like the 1st 2 photos you posted and this is the most helpful thing I found!! Sucks for me that this is the 7th day I am dealing with it. I keep looking in the mirror thinking it will or has gotten better but I am not sure if I am just trying to convince myself that it is.

    Did your bumps get smaller and disappear or did it widen and then flattened out? Also I feel like some bumps are going away but getting replaced with new ones. It is tough dealing with an allergic reaction on your face when you gotta deal with customers all day at work. ;/

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    1. Ah, I feel your pain with scouring the internet for answers. I was physically and mentally very distressed with my first severe allergic reaction (to mangoes) and spent HOURS online trying to figure out what was going on with me.

      My bumps got smaller, then disappeared as time went on. I don't remember them widening, but as they flatten out they got smaller but the redness may have widened a bit.

      If you're unsure if your symptoms are improving, maybe try to take photos to document the progression? My first reactions I was so embarrassed I couldnt even bring myself to take photos of myself. But after this started happening so often, I found it is helpful to take pictures/write down my symptoms so I can better deal with future reactions.
      I really hope you get better soon! Stay positive and let me know if I can help with anything else!

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  18. Ok so the redness and bumpiness are finally gone but now my skin feels like sandpaper! It is extremely rough and dry even though I moisturize regularly. It seems it doesnt penetrate through the rough layer. Did your skin react that way? Is this how skin heals itself after a reaction and how long will this last?

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    1. Yes, this is exactly how my skin reacted with the healing process. The roughness/sandpaper feeling should be the last few days of your skin recovering. For me the roughness/small bumps lasted for another 3-4 days after the redness subsided. There is light at the end of the tunnel! Glad to hear you're getting better :)

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    2. Thank you so much for your help!

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  19. I woke up this morning with my face, eyes, and neck covered in tiny blisters. The only thing I've eaten or used on my skin that was different: Hope in a Jar!! THANK YOU for sharing your experiences. It calmed me down!

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    1. oh no! hope you get better quickly! keep your head up and you'll get through :)

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  20. Thank you for this post! I was shocked it was Kate Somerville because I use exfolikate and eradikate. Sad to see it took 11 days to return to normal. I'm on day 6, sigh. But feeling better knowing that it DOES go away eventually.

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    1. Good to know you are able to use exfolikate and eradikate w no issues as I've been scared to try other Kate Somerville products ever since this reaction : ( I may do some patch testing and give them a go in the future.
      You're more than halfway there - maybe yours will clear more quickly! As long as it's getting better, it'll be over before you know it! Best wishes!

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  21. Hi! I'm currently going through this right and my stress is through the roof so my healing progression seems slow. I really appreciate your comment about not dwelling on the appearance bc quite frankly that's all I've done. Therefore, I feel like my rash is staying forever on my face!

    I really needed to read that tonight. Thank you!

    Ashley

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    1. Aw, it'll clear soon! It's hard to avoid dwelling on the appearance but it really doesn't help the situation at all : ( Hope you get better quickly!! :)

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  22. Thank you for answering me back. I went to 2 dermatologist and neither of them can tell if it's a rash or acne. They seem to lean towards acne but I've never had acne. It's been since Jan. Since the condition began to worsen then in Feb. It was at its worse which made me think possible allergic reaction. The rash doesn't respond to acne treatments which makes me think it might be fungal?

    Thank you,

    Ashley

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    1. Aw, I hope the docs can figure it out soon since it's been going on for so long. Skin reactions/conditions are difficult to diagnose and it often involves quite a lot of trial/error with creams and meds. I hope you get better soon! <3

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  23. Me too! I'm going to try a different dermatologist. I wonder if you can suddenly can become allergic to your makeup? The same makeup I've worn for years just not agreeing with my skin anymore? I didn't wear my makeup for 2 days and my face didn't itch (skin didn't look much different but didn't itch). I'm wearing makeup tonight and my face itches. Maybe it's bc my skin is so irritated?

    I wish I knew what was going on with my skin...

    If I weren't to put anything on my face how long with an allergic reaction take to subside? Did you wear makeup at all or did you just tough it out? I have progression photos of my skin but can't seem to get answers from professionals. I'm very frustrated.

    Thank you for listening to me.

    Ashley

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    1. Is the makeup that is just now causing your skin to itch older makeup? Perhaps it has harbored and grown bacteria over time and that may be what is irritating your skin? Just a thought!
      It could definitely be that your skin is already irritated and the makeup doesnt help as it does have chemicals in it. I do not wear any makeup when I am going through an allergic reaction as I definitely felt like made my skin feel worse. It was hard for me to go barefaced, especially with so much visible redness/bumpiness, but I knew that if I wore makeup it could just make things heal more slowly.

      If you don't put anything on your face, it can take almost 2 weeks for your allergic reaction to resolve itself. I would recommend at least keeping your skin hydrated with a moisturizer you know your skin can tolerate.
      I hope you find some answers soon! Keep your head up!

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  24. OMG Thankyou for this! I am having an allergic reaction right now to what I believe is Kate Sommervilles acne foaming face mask. I have been trying new products for the past couple of days but After I took off the mask I noticed my fave was a little red and then next day it was still red and throughout the day i was getting small puss like bumps on around my chin and right cheek, now that area is worse and itches like hell. I feel so ugly :( I just hope it goes away soon!

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    1. Aww, just know there is light at the end of the tunnel and it will resolve soon!! Hope you get better ASAP.

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  25. I haven't found a moisturizer my face doesn't react to. My dermatologist and allergist both give me the standard recommendations Cetaphil, cerave, vanicream. I've had reactions to all of them so far.

    Ashley

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    1. I also got a mild reaction to vanicream. Cerave works very well on me and I've also had no issues with Cetaphil. Hope you find something that works well soon!

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  26. this EXACT SAME THING JUSR HAPPENED TO ME WITH THIS PRODUCT. I thought it was the face wash but now seeing this it has to me the moisturizer. I'm so frustrated! Talk about bad timing (holiday weekend and going to a wedding!)

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    1. Aww, sorry to hear you got this reaction at a bad time >:(. Darn allergic reactions!! But at least it's only temporary. Good luck with the healing process <3 you'll get through!

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  27. Chance upon your blog while looking for remedy to skin allergy! Currently experiencing it on my face and neck. Suspected using Belif products. My face now developed into red patchy and hot rash... I put those products right away and hope the rash will go away soon! thanks for sharing this :)

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  28. thank you for your post ! I had a similar allergy reaction and was freaking out that it could be an STD or something

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    1. I'm glad my post has helped a bit :)
      Yes, the symptoms of some allergic reaction can definitely be very similar to that of oral herpes and/or fever sores, etc. With my mango allergy reaction, I was quite freaked out by the unknowns before I realized it was an allergic rxn. Since I had peeled mangoes before with no reaction, it didn't even cross my mind that it could be the mango (skin) that caused my allergic reaction. Ever since that terrible incident, I've been very aware of symptoms of allergic reactions.
      Good luck! Hope you heal soon!

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  29. I know this post is old, but I am so thankful I found it! I recently tried using a new foundation (Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation) and everything was great for about 3 days of regular wear (8 hours a day). I have never had skin allergies to topical things like creams, lotions, or even makeup. I have never considered my skin to be sensitive either. But OH MAN! This stuff gave me those tiny little bumps ALL OVER my face! I noticed it on the third day of wearing the fondation at the end of the night. Every pore of my skin looked raised. It didn't start to itch until the second day. I started to panic and came across your amazing post! My fiance suggested I take some supplments. I took an amino-acid suppklement, lysine, and a multivitamin containing b vitamins (good for skin) and zinc (good for immune system and skin). The next day my face was mostly clear. There are still some small bumps around my mouth that are a bit itchy. I've been taking benedryl twice a day. I hope this helps a bit! Fingers crossed it doesn't come back...

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    1. Ah, thanks for sharing your experience! I'll have to keep those supplements in mind if I ever have another dermatitis allergic reaction in the future.
      I'm so glad to hear you've been recovering well, though! I sure hope it doesn't come back. Hopefully you were able to return the foundation!

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  30. Hi :) I am currently having an allergic reaction on my face and neck. So embarrassing, red, itchy, flaking. The only things I use are E45 shampoo and Vaseline as a night moisturiser. Apparently it's very rare to be allergic to the Vaseline so my suspicion is the shampoo. These reactions have been on and off for months. I haven't used the shampoo for 3-4 days now and no improvement :( I'm at my wits end

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  31. I've had the EXACT same thing happen to me with mango skin! I'm also allergic to it AND horribly allergic to poison ivy. I had my lips swell with little pus filled oozy bumps all over my mouth several times until I realized that it was the mango. I'm always really really careful when I eat mangos now.

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