If you have sensitive skin, you probably know your way around a patch test. For those unfamiliar, a patch test is basically testing a new skin care product on a small patch of skin (do you get it?) before you splash sweets all over your face and risk a reaction.
Now, some people can get away with testing the patch on the inside of their wrist or on the skin behind the ear — if you don’t experience a reaction there, that’s a safe bet for your face, right? Wrong – wrong – wrong. Patch testing requires more time and effort, especially for those with sensitive skin. “The biggest mistake people make with a home patch test is not waiting long enough to see if there is a reaction,” says Mehrotra. “Contact dermatitis, also known as topical dermatitis, tends to cause delayed reactions, with the reaction starting at any time from the time of exposure until a few days later.”
Therefore, to test the patch at home, she recommends applying a dime-sized amount of the product directly to your jaw line for two to three days. Every morning, assess the spot for any bumps, redness, irritation, or rashes. “If everything is clear by day four or five, you can continue to try the product on your face,” says Mehrotra. This might sound like a commitment of more time, but the tendency to inflamed and reactive skin is a much bigger lift, don’t you think?