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Does your skin care product cause irritation? Is it a good or bad sign

Many people tend to believe that skin care products should cause irritation or leave your skin stinging as if it is on fire. And if you leave your skin with that tingling or stinging sensation then you will have excellent glowing skin. But it's not true and your skin shouldn't feel like it's burning.

People have taken the motto No pain-No gain a wrong way and it's even suggested by a dermatologist if your skin sufferers inflammation then that is a sign of unhappy skin. But here comes the confusion that there are skincare ingredients like retinoids that cause tingling. It's important to note that it's okay if it only lasts for a few seconds but not more than that.

So, to solve the confusion and know whether irritation from skin care products is good or not.

Should irritation be considered good or not? To what level?

Skincare Products For Dry Skin

The response of your nerve fibers present on the surface of the skin causes a tingling or stinging sensation. There are some skin ingredients that when applied activate the nerve fibers for a short period of time. Since blood vessels are also present closer to your nerve fibers, this response results in redness.

In some cases, it is normal to have that tingling sensation for 1 or 2 seconds but for some products, it means that it needs to be stopped. But how to know whether is okay or not while applying skin care products and to what levels?

1. Mild tingling sensation is good to go and is considered normal for any type of ingredients and is also an indication that your skin barrier is a little sensitive.

2. If your stinging sensation is more intense and is resulting in a stinging sensation or is mild, or goes away in a few minutes could be considered normal. This might also make your skin feel a little warm or flushed. But if the stinging sensation does not go away within a minute or so or last longer than that.

His is considered that you have extremely sensitive skin and it needs a little more extra attention. Another thing is your skin barrier is a little damaged and you need much milder skin care products

3. While this level could be a little more intense and result in burning sensitivity. If any product results in this reaction then it is a clear sign that you need to stop and immediately wash it off from the face.

And if you are considering getting a chemical peel then it's better to get professional help like a dermatologist. As these products work deep into the skin and need good attention as they might lead to a little damage if done at home.

Here are the common ingredients that might result in a tingling or stinging sensation

Exfoliating acids or Scrubbing

Any type of face wash, peel-off mask, or cream packed with AHAs like salicylic acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid is supposed to cause a stinging sensation. As this is because they are slightly acidic but they should not be used on a daily basis if they cause irritation.

Scrubs that have tiny grains should not cause any type of stinging sensation instead they should make you feel fresh.

Exfoliating enzymes

There are exfoliating enzymes like bromelain and papain that might irritation or a stinging sensation. They cause an imbalance in the pH levels of the skin and hence create a sensation like irritation or itching.

Citric Acid

Being low in pH it might cause your skin to prick or sting.

L-Ascorbic acid

It is one of the common forms of Vitamin C and commonly results in a tingling or stinging sensation.

Here is how to know if its bad or not

Most of the skincare products or ingredients do not make you feel anything and are gentle on the skin. But if any of your skin care products even considering the above skin care ingredients cause your skin to sting for a longer period of time then it needs to be stopped. As you might end up causing harm to your skin barrier.

But there are ingredients that are supposed to go inside the as there are small cracks present on our skin. They are supposed to help skin problems but still should be avoided until the skin barrier is restored.

Other than a damaged barrier that are different reasons for irritation while applying skin products as they might be packed with:-

  • Fragrance
  • Essential oils
  • Drying alcohol

Something you are allergic to.

Note:- It is common to note there are exfoliating agents that cause a little stinging sensation and it goes away. Because they are supposed to improve the production of lipids and hence repair the skin barrier.

But is important to remember that there is a limit to associating pain with efficacy. If you are applying exfoliating acids with the goal of stinging and resulting in inflammation then there is no use.

Take Aways

There are many skincare products that you can easily find in the market and can be used at home. But it is very important to note to examine the skin and know if it is breaking or not. Dont run behind the no pain no gain word as it might result in making your skin more sensitive and also affecting your skin barrier.

There should be a line between the sensation of tingling and pain, as a constant sensation of pain will lead to inflammation. So, always be aware of choosing your skin care product.


Q. Should you stop using skin care products when it irritates your skin?

Ans. Any skin care product that causes your skin to become dry and also results in redness should be avoided.

Q. How to know that the skincare product is not good for you?

Ans. If your skin is showing these signs including itching, irritation, discoloration, or tight feeling then you must stop using the skincare product right away.

Q. How to know that your skincare product is effective?

Ans. Your skin starts to feel smooth, uniform in color, and less bumpy along with that the skin pores are reduced in size.

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