Don’t give up: even the “worst” skin has hope!
We can’t tell you how many times we hear: “my skin is the worst,” or “I have the longest patch test list and can’t use anything!” You might feel like you have more allergens than any other person on the planet, or the most impossible skin problems, but it probably isn’t true. We’ve seen the longest patch test results and our doctors care for hospitalized cases: we see the worst skin cases, on a regular basis, and care for them. And even if your skin does fall into the most complex of categories, there is hope. Follow these 6 steps to begin your climb out of desperation…
1. Go to a dermatologist who specializes in your condition.
Your doctor might be wonderful, but specialists — particularly those who regularly publish or lecture on your condition in particular — spend the most time studying and treating your problem. These hours of specialization matter. This concentrated study and experience means the deepest understanding of the condition, access to the latest research and treatments, and higher rates of success.
2. Get a patch test.
This one, simple test can be a game changer. If you’ve had a long history of very sensitive skin, you may need an expanded patch test which can cost more up front but will save you LOTS (of money, injury, frustration, and time) compared to guessing which products to use.
3. Stop random trial and error.
It is almost impossible to identify the exact culprit of a reaction on your own from just trial and error. The last product applied isn’t necessarily the cause of a reaction. In fact, we’ve seen several cases of people using products they were sensitive to for years without a major reaction (perhaps just dryness)…slowly getting skin to a “breaking point” where anything applied next (ironically enough, even something they’re actually NOT allergic to) can trigger a flare-up. Unless you’re a chemist and understand INCI names of cosmetic ingredients (and know cross reactants of allergens) and a contact dermatitis specialist who is updated on the medical literature on allergens, there’s just no way to win this game on your own.
This means use products with the least amount of ingredients possible, with little to no known allergens or irritants, and use less products in general.
5. Stay positive.
It helps your skin — de-stressing has serious health benefits! Patience is required. One-pill-fixes-all-overnight is a myth even in relatively healthy skin. Jumping from doctor to doctor, and treatment to treatment, can backfire. Give your specialist and therapy a good, solid try by strictly complying with instructions (a top problem for doctors is patient compliance) for at least a few months before you consider trying something else.
6. Make sure your doctor does a thorough history.
Everything is important. What you eat, what utensils you use when eating, what gear you use when working out or at the office, your hobbies, what you sleep on, your towels and clothing, what medications or vitamins you might be taking, your nutrition and exercise. Everything matters.
We’ve seen decades-long, steroid-dependent cases turn around from proper prevention alone. The solution to your skin woes could be far simpler than you think.
To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com.
On the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.
To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.