Recently I tested a drugstore serum which broke me out in such a bad way that it necessitated the writing of an entire blog post. I'm not going to slam the product (it's the Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-wrinkle Replenishing Serum Pearls if you're wondering), but I will tell you what to do when you're in a similar situation. Different skin types respond differently to products and ingredients, so what worked for me might not work for you, and vice versa, but I do believe the approach will still be the same.
My first impression of the serum was that I really liked the packaging, but that the product itself was a bit weird. When you press down on the pump, the yellow pearls are squished together and dispensed as a bright yellow cream (it looks a bit like mushy peas), and it smells exactly like men's shower gel, which should probably have given me my first clue. I used it morning and night for about two or three days and everything seemed fine (I didn't change anything else in my skincare routine). On the evening of the second or third day I saw that my skin looked a bit lackluster and bumpy so I decided to use a clay mask that I have used many times before (the green L'Oreal clay mask). I rinsed it off and everything was fine. The next morning when I woke up the skin on my cheeks was a bit red, but nothing out of the ordinary. I applied the serum and my usual skincare products and put on makeup. When I arrived home about two hours later (we had a doctor's appointment the morning) my skin was an absolute disaster. I immediately washed my face and saw that my skin had the texture of the moon landscape: my cheeks were red and inflamed and I had white bumps (that looked like pimples) dotted all over my cheeks. There were a few white bumps on my chin and even down my neck (I always take the excess serum down my neck). I was shocked and upset that my skin had taken a turn for the worst so quickly! After some TLC my skin recovered after about four days and today's post will explain how I did it.
Tips on How to Recover
The first thing to do is: stop using the aggravating product. As a beauty blogger I've learned (the hard way) to not just jump in and try lots of new products at once: you will mess up your skin in a bad way. If you're using new products, introduce them one at a time to give your skin a chance to acclimatise to the new product(s). This way you will also know which one is the offending product if anything goes wrong.
The next thing to remember is do NOT exfoliate your skin! It can be very tempting to just go to town with the exfoliation in the hopes of removing every last bump and "starting over". Exfoliation will definitely make things worse, so don't do it!
Return to the basics: your skin is in a very fragile position and you need to be very, very gentle with it. Stick to your old routine and try to pare it back if you're a bit on the heavy side with the skincare steps. For me this meant using a gentle face wash morning and night (and not washing my face in the shower in the mornings) - I recently repurchased the Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel which is a fail-safe to me. My skin always looks good when I use it and I know it won't break me out. After that I applied The Body Shop's British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner on a cotton pad (very gently) to my entire face, and I spritzed on some La Roche Posay thermal water, and when I ran out, the Avene thermal water. After letting that sink in I applied a few drops of the Dermalogica UltraCalming Barrier Oil (only from the second day onwards), and then lastly some of the Dermalogica UltraCalming Water Moisturiser. The reason I applied these products is because that's what I've been using in the weeks before messing up my skin with a drugstore serum. You can use anything that's been working for you before the mishap. Luckily for me that meant two products from the Dermalogica UltraCalming range! You don't need to spend thousands on products claiming to solve your skincare problems: the main thing is just to not upset your skin any further.
Go for gentle products. I'm a firm believer in using thermal water (Uriage, Vichy, Avene, La Roche Posay) to calm down irritated skin. I've used it on sunburnt skin, shaving rashes (on the husband), insect bites, you name it. It cools down the area and gently calms the skin.
I've been lucky in that I could stay home those few days while my skin was recovering, so I didn't wear any makeup. When I did go out I just applied a BB cream, concealer, and powder and tried not to faff too much with my skin. Now would also be a good time to tell you to not touch your face! By touching your face you can spread bacteria from your hands to your face, and goodness knows, this is the last thing you need now!
At night I would gently double cleanse if I've worn makeup, or else do a gentle single cleanse. Hot cloth cleansing proved to be the most effective way at cleaning my skin while soothing it.
Patience. I know, I know. I do not have patience but trust me when I say, you can't rush this process. You just have to be gentle with your skin and give it time to heal. It took me four days but my skin is back to normal.
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting your skin to get back to looking its best? Let me know in the comment section.
Until next time!
* Image with thanks from Pixabay
* Image with thanks from Pixabay
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