Ok I know this title is a little strange but hear me out: last week I woke up with a vanity shattering rash on my forehead without any clue how it got there. I have always taken great care of my skin and rarely have even a breakout so this event was very new to me. I had plenty of questions, and there were so many possible causes for this rash that I did not know where to start my investigation.
Still weirded out? Well the rash is currently healing but since I ended up investigating a multitude of causes, I thought it would serve this community well to share my journey in case anyone reading this encounters a similar inexplicable issue. Of course, keep in mind that I am not a dermatologist and if you have something unusual on your skin that is not treated at home please consult your doctor rather than a poor college grad on the internet. So here are the steps I took to get to the bottom of this and I hope they can be helpful to you!
Is It An Allergic Reaction?
There are many different ways your skin can react to something, and plenty of everyday products or chemicals can cause a skin allergy. Now the idea of an allergy is incredibly general, so let’s break it down:
Could It Be A New Or Old Skincare Product?
Have you recently introduced something into your routine not knowing how it behaves either on your skin or in combination with other products? Maybe your skin is allergic to something in it, so make sure products are “clean” with no unnecessary ingredients or fragrances.
On the same note, be sure to never mix certain skincare products in the same routine. Typically, things like retinol should never mix with AHAs, Benzoyl Peroxide, Vitamin C, or Salicylic Acid. And you should avoid using more than one product with the same active ingredients. So even if the new product itself is ok for your skin doesn’t mean it is ok in combination with something else you like.
Another big thing I realized this week: CHECK THE EXPIRATION. I like to keep products around for as long as possible since skincare can get a bit pricy. However, after typically 12 months, that toner you love may accidentally peel your skin. So go through your products and check how long you have had them. If something is going to irritate you, you do not need it in the house.
Lastly, could you possibly develop an allergy to something you previously were not allergic to? Yes, and this brings me to my next point:
Get Back To The Basics
If something is irritating you and you have no idea why, minimize your routine to just one or two products: either cold water and a face oil or a water based cleanser and moisturizer. Make sure these are trusted products that: have worked on your skin before, have zero fragrances or unnecessary products, are not expired, and can function together.
Do this until the rash goes away or for the duration of your investigation.
Could It Be Your Diet?
I am sure plenty of people can relate to this one, but since quarantine my eating has definitely changed. We may be eating more sugar, fast food, or simply eating out of boredom. I have noticed unusual or more frequent breakouts since all this, so part of my investigation is to see if my skin clears up from a two week sugar cleanse. I am still in the middle of this cleanse so fingers crossed!
Sun Or Outdoor Exposure?
Some sunburns present differently, or maybe the changing seasons has affected you differently? Maybe you recently moved to a new place or have been going on multiple walks every day!
Laundry Detergent Or Other Household Irritants
Sounds a little weird but way back I realized I had an allergy to the fragrance in my detergent and had to switch in order to stop breaking out all the time.
Are You Stressed?
Sounds a little too simple, but our bodies respond to stress in a variety of ways and that includes things like breakouts or rashes!
So in the case of this forehead rash, I suspect it to be caused by a combination of different things: my new AHA serum combined with something in my current routine, an expired toner, a little sun exposure, sweat from working out and the change of seasons making my skin more oily than dry, plus breakouts due to stress and excess sugar.
My plan is to simplify my skincare routine with trusted products, let my skin heal, wear more sunscreen, wash my face immediately after working out, calm down, and try no sugar and see what happens.
I hope this was helpful and I will be creating more updates soon!