Why does my moisturizer burn my face? I found asking this question to myself a few months back. While many of us ask the same questions, very few of us get to know the exact reason behind this burning sensation. When I delved deeper into this area, I discovered some causes that were surprising to me initially.
Beware of moisturizers with skin-friendly labels that perform just the opposite because when I found one such moisturizer burning my face all of a sudden, I had to dig deep for its causes and solutions, which I will share with you here.
Moisturizer Burning My Face All Of A Sudden | The Root Causes And Remedies
The Probable Reasons
There are many reasons as to why your moisturizer does not stop irking your skin. It comes as shocking when even products with the labels of “hypoallergenic,” “non-irritating,” “dermatologist tested,” or “based on success trials of a clinical study” perform precisely the opposite of what they say. Here are the top five reasons for why your moisturizer stings you.
Allergy From The Ingredients: Your skin may have allergic reactions to some of your moisturizer’s ingredients. We may often look around us at our friends, celebrities, or an influencer for the skincare products they use to bring on their glow and buy similar products for ourselves. But it backfires! Since all of them have varied skin types that have distinct qualities, they react differently to different products. Similarly, using different acids in products can cause burning, itching, and other reactions. Thus, you must know what should be used with which element to avoid burning.
An Imbalanced pH Level: You may need to observe that your moisturizer’s pH is compatible with your skin’s pH. Usually, our skin is mildly acidic, and when our skin burns post-application, it shows that our moisturizer has a conflicting pH level.
Damaged Skin Barrier: Some cleansers may have harsh ingredients that compromise your skin’s natural barrier by stripping the skin of some of its protective lipid layers to make it more sensitive. Even if you have residual matters post-cleansing, it compromises barrier functions, irritates, and increases sensitivity. Another cause of a vulnerable skin barrier may be chemotherapy.
New Medications: If your moisturizer burns after you start a new medication, it too may flare up your skin’s sensitivity. Many US OTCs sell Antihistamines (particularly Cetirizine) under the brand name Zyrtec, sulfa antibiotics under Bactrim, and antidepressants that may make you more sensitive to your skin care products.
High doses of Vitamin A and diuretics medicines dry out your skin. Dietary supplements of Niacin flush your skin and make it sensitivity-prone if you are someone who takes plenty of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen, they can make your skin susceptible to the application of skincare products like your daily moisturizers that will burn or sting.
Incorporating Strong Formulas Into Skincare Routine: If you have exfoliating ingredients in your moisturizer, that, too, may be the reason for the stinging or burning sensation. Exfoliating particles hamper the protective layer when you later rub your face off with a washcloth. As over-exfoliating is another reason for your moisturizer to burn, retinoids can be another.
Tretinoin, Tazzeratin, and Isotretinoin are the active ingredients you should take the doctor’s advice on before including in your daily skincare routine. Their sudden inclusion can make your skin hyper-sensitive to other skin care products.
The Possible Remedies
If we talk of instant solutions, there exist a few ones. But here’s the catch! These instant remedies may not treat you in all cases possible. For this, you should visit your nearest board-certified dermatologist for better advice. Meanwhile, see what options you have to soothe your skin quickly. You may use them to relieve your skin momentarily.
- If you feel inflammation, try using a hydrocortisone topical cream. It is a steroid medicine that allows your body to lower its immune response to reduce the itching, painful, or swelling sensations.
- You may use petroleum jelly to calm the inflammatory sensation. If that does not help, splash some cold water onto your face. Never apply ice packs on the stinging face, as you may kick off the unwanted ice burns.
- After you cleanse, notice how your skin feels. If it feels tight within 5-10 minutes of cleansing, your cleansers have harsh ingredients, and it’s time to ditch them. Switch to milder cleansers with hydrating ingredients. For instance, Aveeno’s Daily Facial Moisturizing Cleansers meets the above requirements and helps protect the skin barrier. Cleanse once a day and ensure that you rinse it off well.
- If you have aloe vera gel at home, you can apply it, too. Get your hands on the aloe vera stem, remove the thorns, peel it off, allow the yellow pigments to leave, and then apply it on your face. It would be better to use natural aloe vera. But if it is unavailable, use an aloe vera product after skimming its ingredients.
Minding The Precautions
The stinging or burning sensation may lie between tolerable and excruciating levels. Anyways! If we look at our precautions, they are super basic and easy to execute by yourself. As you read by, see what you have missed, and take note of the same.
- Perform a prior patch test. It is one of the tried-and-tested ways to identify if your skin feels okay with the ingredients and pH of your moisturizer. Be it on your elbow or inside your arm, apply a quarter-sized amount of the moisturizer and leave it for 24 hours. If it does not sting, burn, or cause discomfort, proceed.
- Do not leave your cleanser’s residue on your face, as it may cause irritancy. Also, bear in mind that you use a shaving cream or gel before shaving, and never use a dull razor. While choosing moisturizers, trust your instincts! If it is smelly, you may want to avoid trying it out.
- Look at your moisturizer’s label of ingredients. The lesser they are, the better they may be on your skin. Plus, if your moisturizer’s composition box displays fragrance or preservatives, it would be best to discard its use. When you face increased sensitivity, avoiding exfoliating ingredients is best.
- Always use an SPF as the last step of your skincare. Use a mineral sunscreen instead of a chemical one with the active ingredients of Zinc or Titanium Dioxide. When doing skincare, pat dry your face thoroughly before applying your moisturizer. You may wait for 30 minutes and see if your skin feels much better. Cut back on alcohol intake to make your skin less susceptible.
Watch this video to gain a deeper insight into how to prevent your skincare product from burning.
Frequently Asked Questions | Moisturizer Burning My Face All Of A Sudden
After reaching this point, you may have some questions. Check if it matches the ones that I addressed below.
How should skin feel after moisturizing?
Generally, we apply the moisturizer to moisten our skin and keep it well-hydrated. So, our skin should feel soft and smooth after applying moisturizer. If it burns or stings, it is high time to scan the ingredients and see the probate reasons.
Is it normal for face moisturizer to burn?
No, it is not normal for your face to burn after you apply your moisturizer. It would be better to visit a board-certified dermatologist who can explain the root of your stinging or burning sensation and prescribe a personalized treatment.
How do you know if a moisturizer is not suitable?
The best thing for you to do is patch test. Perform a patch test to see how the moisturizer fares on your skin. If you have combination skin, you can opt for moisturizers that imitate the consistency of a serum. You can look at the composition of your moisturizer and ensure that the ingredients are safe on your skin.
Why does my face burn when I put on moisturizer?
There are many reasons why your skin burns when you apply your moisturizer. You may be allergic to its ingredients or have increased skin sensitivity. It may be due to a pH issue, incorporation of high concentrations of active ingredients in your skincare routine, over-exfoliation, or usage of new medicines. To take its care, glance at the remedies and precautions above.
Why does Cetaphil moisturizer burn my face?
Cetaphil bears the label of a gentle and mild moisturizer that is non-comedogenic. Yet, it may act differently on your skin. While your hampered skin barrier and flared skin sensitivity may be the reasons, look at the table of Cetaphil’s ingredients. It contains Cetyl Alcohol, Edetate Disodium, and a preservative (Phenoxyethanol) that may not suit sensitive skin.
Similarly, CeraVe moisturizer has some ingredients like Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, and others that are unsuitable for all skin types. Besides, keep an eye on the possible causes that I mentioned above.
Ending Notes | Moisturizer Burning My Face All Of A Sudden
Increased skin sensitivity due to many reasons, as mentioned earlier, makes your skin and face susceptible to burning. I prefer shopping for moisturizers from a store that lets you try their products beforehand.
Keep a look at the expiry date of your moisturizer. Environmental factors may also exacerbate your sensitivity or allergic reactions. Also, certain foods like chocolates, tomatoes, and citrus have cinnamaldehyde that may worsen your skin conditions (like rosacea).
Also, spicy food may trigger a burning sensation. Even rubbing harshly or a rough washcloth may give you micro cuts that sting you when you apply your moisturizer. Calm down the burning or stinging sensation by following the above instant solutions and taking care of the precautions. I know the situation can be panicky, but try to keep calm as much as possible, as it helps you the most.
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