Ask Kaylin: How to Perform a Patch Test

Category: , , , , / 12/18/2013
Use gentle products, especially around the eyes, to
reduce potential allergies.
You may have heard of a patch test, but few actually bother to do them. If you have any tendency towards allergies, this simple test can be a key to finding the right products for you.

Anonymous:
What is a patch test? How do I do it? Do I need to do this with every product?

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical professional or licensed esthetician. Please consult your dermatologist or allergist before following any advice in this post.

Kaylin:
I'm glad you asked! I often recommend patch tests to clients in my consulting work, as they are an invaluable tool, particularly for sensitive skin. A patch test is essentially where you apply a small amount of a new product to a discreet area to determine if you have a reaction.

How to conduct a patch test:
  1. Take a small amount of the product and apply to a small patch of skin, such as the crook of your elbow or the inside of your wrist.
  2. Let the product sit on the area for 24-48 hours (unwashed) and check periodically to see if there is an allergic reaction, such as redness, itchiness, or acne-like bumps.
  3. If no reaction occurs, you may be safe to use the product. As always, discontinue use immediately if any reaction occurs, even after conduction a patch test.
Just as carpet cleaners recommend testing for color fastness, many cosmetic companies encourage customers to follow a similar process. If you don't tend to react to products, you can try applying them directly to your face. I tend to do this with gentle products, such as those with a rating of 3 or lower on the EWG Skin Deep database. I list EWG ratings in each of my reviews. However, if you have sensitive skin or are using a product with potentially irritating ingredients (such as lip plumpers or products with "cooling" effects), I recommend a patch test with each new product. For more information on allergies, consult your dermatologist, allergist, or another licensed professional.

Note for professionals: Be sure to check with clients ahead of time to see if they have sensitive skin. I try to stock my kit with the gentlest products possible that can withstand professional demands. It's impractical to do patch tests during a one-time application, so I recommend creating your own waiver form for clients to sign before you start, in case any allergic reaction occurs. For clients with sensitive skin, you can also ask them to bring their own makeup if they have a brand they know works with their skin.

Disclosure notice: This product was sent to me free of charge by the manufacturer for review. No additional compensation was accepted and the opinions are my own. Please verify any claims with the manufacturer, especially if you have any allergies or concerns.

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Thanks for sharing!

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