WELL+GOOD posted “Dear Derms: Do I need to feel my skin care to know it’s working?” featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel and Visha Skincare .
The article includes Dr. Patel‘s expert commentary on the correlation between how your skin care feels on your skin and the effectiveness of it.
“When ingredients stimulate the nerves in the skin with burning and tingling, it creates a sensation that the product is doing something and that it’s working,” says Purvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare .
“Just because a product tingles doesn’t mean it’s more effective—nerve sensation is not correlated to skin outcome.”
This all doesn’t mean that having those satisfying sensations with your skin care is a bad thing—there are just certain ingredients that give off that burns-so-good feeling. “Alpha-hydroxy acids or fruit acids are exfoliants that tingle with use as the ingredient is going into the skin,” says Dr. Patel. While in the case of menthol or camphor, this is a localized, commonly non-threatening reaction, other tingles could be signaling that a product is too intense (especially in those with sensitive skin). “If products make you tingle, they may actually be too strong for you and should be avoided,” says Dr. Patel. “Also, allergic reactions and burning of the skin can start with skin tingling, which is not a desirable result from skin care.”
So, yeah—if you’re swiping on a serum or a face mask, for example, and that tingling turns from satisfying (and ultra-quick) to steady and not going away, use caution. “If the sensation lasts for more than a few minutes, if the skin gets red or inflamed, and if the skin starts to peel, it could mean there’s an allergic reaction to the product and it should be washed off,” says Dr. Patel. “If it still persists after washing off the product, consult a board-certified dermatologist.” Also important to note: Keep those products away from especially sensitive areas, like around your eyes, she says.