Safe Cosmetics Australia

The Toxic-Free Campaign

How to do a patch test

How do you do a patch test at home?

EXPERT ADVICE DERMATOLOGY
Dermatologist Kristen Hudson Nickles, shares her advice for ELLE magazine, "As long as you don't have facial swelling, you can do a basic allergy test at home. If you think that you're allergic to a shimmery blush, for example, test it on your inner forearm in the same way you would on your face, applying a thin layer in the morning and removing it with cleanser in the evening as you would your usual makeup. Do this every day for a week and watch for a rash to develop. If so, you have your answer; if not, move on to another product and repeat, one by one. Or a dermatologist can do a patch test, where little dots of different topical ingredients are applied to your back in a grid, and she examines the skin to see which chemicals produced a reaction." - Dermatologist Kristen Hudson Nickles, for ELLE magazine.

DIY patch test is recommended.
It can be difficult to isolate a single ingredient that is to blame for skin irritation. Carrying out a patch test is always a good idea if you are prone to skin irritation. If you can't identify the allergen then further tests can be performed by a medical specialist such as dermatologist or clinical Immunology allergy specialist.

Can you trust the product label?

CHECKING PRODUCT LABELS IS KEY

Do you check the product label before purchasing? Current regulations require brands to list the product ingredients in descending order, from the highest percentage down to the least amount of a given ingredient. Brands often market their products labelled 'ideal for sensitive skin' or 'hypo-allergenic' or 'clinically tested'. But, can we trust these claims? The simple truth is no. Why not? Because current legislation does not stipulate a specific ingredient criteria for brands to meet. In fact, there are no pre-market regulations for brands to meet, these terms are not regulated at all.

On the subject of product labels, dermatologist Kristen advises "There's never a guarantee. Something may be hypo-allergenic but still cause an allergy for you, just as most people can eat strawberries, but some people may be allergic to them. Products for sensitive skin generally contain fewer common allergens, but they still can provoke an allergy in someone who's susceptible." Kirsten advises her clients to use baby skin care products instead of standard varieties and moisturise with plain facial oils. he also advises that "In general, the longer a product stays on your skin, the greater potential for allergy. Once you figure out your trigger ingredient, become a master at reading cosmetic ingredient labels so you can protect yourself."- quote from Elle Magazine.

How do we choose allergy-safe products?

CONSIDER THE INGREDIENTS FIRST

How can we choose safer products?
Always read the product label and take note of the brands directions for use. If you don't know what is to blame for a skin flare up then it is best to resort to clean and simple products that are made with very few ingredients. Safe Cosmetics Australia campaigns for a healthier future that considers the product ingredients first. Look for the Australian Allergy Certified™ seal of approval to help you choose products without known allergens.

What is the best way to identify an allergen?

Identifying the allergen can be very difficult. The process of elimination can work, but it is not always easy to pin point the exact cause of an allergy flare up. Kristen advises that it's not always a new product that causes a reaction, you might use a product for months or years, but all of a sudden a reaction occurs. The repeated use of a particular product can lead to a full-blown allergic attack. Products containing sensitising ingredients can gradually lead to a skin complaint