Sensitivity to Products and the Treatments to Resolve: Part One

In this first part on Sensitivity to Products and the Treatments (part two is here), we dive deeper into dermatitis, the Barrier Function and the different test to find out what’s going on.

We’ve all had issues with redness on our skin from products.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Tissue that feels like it’s burning, stinging, sensitivity to touch
  • Feeling painful from time to time
  • Feels warm to hot

Gaining an understanding on the conditions for the sensitivity of products and treatments is one of the best ways to resolve them; and we’re going to help explain that here.


A very common issue is called contact dermatitis. One issue can be applying a product, which then results in the tissue becoming sensitive and/or inflamed. This just means that there is a trigger and the skin is warning you that something is not right.

Delayed Reactions

Another issue is when you could be using a product for a period of time then finding yourself not being able to handle the product. This is tricky to figure out sometimes as the skin mirrors what is inside of us.

Questions to ask are:

  • Is it the product?
  • Possibly a new medication?
  • or environmental?

Nevertheless, stopping is the best way to treat and if you desire to try again later, do a patch test (usually dot a little product in the place where you had an irritation).

The difference with contact dermatitis is that your immune system is starting to recognize the product is not compatible after a period of time.

Barrier Function

What tends to be not known is what is called the: Barrier Function.

Skin that is seen as thin, or dry, thick or bumpy, but the top layer or what is known as the stratum corneum, will either not allow hydration/lipids in, or have difficulty being balanced if the tissue has lost its integrity. Applying another product may just set it into another spin.

First, stop using all products, second, cold or cool packs, use only a sensitive cleanser (usually one that does not contain fragrance or coloring) or what is known as non-comedogenic.

Once the barrier has been refreshed, then starting reusing products slowly one at a time. Usually clients that tend to experience this loss, will need to keep the skin care regimen simple, and on occasion trying another skin care option.

There are serums that are specifically intended to repair the barrier function and can take up to three months of application to repair. Because this is a process, it should be discussed between you and the professional so once the process has been completed you can move to the next step.

Test for Discovery

  • Scratch Test
  • Cumulative Irritation Test (CIT)

Scratch Test

We had a client that had severe reaction under her nose and chin. She was able to get a scratch test from a dermatologist to scan for any additives used in skin care products. Results usually give a conclusive diagnosis of what to and what not to use.

Cumulative Irritation Test (CIT)

Another test is called CIT used for measuring response from a specific product, or Cumulative Irritation Test (CIT) or Human Repeat Insult Patch Test (HRIPT) which is done in segments.

Part Two