Learn how to deal with a chemical burn on the face from skincare

Skincare may cause a chemical burn on the face if an individual makes use of acid exfoliants which are too sturdy, applies them too often, or leaves them on for too lengthy. Acid exfoliants embody substances resembling glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid.

These acids belong to a bunch of gear generally known as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). They’re in style substances in skincare, however improper use may end up in pores and skin harm.

This harm may be a result of the acid itself inflicting a burn. One other doable trigger is harm from UV gentle, as AHAs and BHAs increase the pores and skin’s sensitivity to the solar, making sunburn extra doubtless.

Burn-like signs may happen because of irritation or an allergic response. These signs might or will not be associated to the acids within the product.

On this article, we clarify what to do if skincare merchandise trigger a chemical burn. We take a look at the therapy and prevention strategies and clarify when to hunt medical assist.

Chemical burns are pores and skin wounds that happen because of a strongly acidic or alkaline substance. Some skincare merchandise or remedies could also be acidic sufficient to trigger one.

Anybody who feels any discomfort when utilizing a skincare product mustn’t try to go away it on the pores and skin. Burning and ache will not be indicators that the product is working because it ought to. Slightly, they’re indicators that it’s damaging the pores and skin.

The signs of a chemical burn embody:

  • pores and skin discoloration or irritation
  • a burning sensation
  • ache
  • numbness
  • blistering
  • peeling

If any of those signs happen after making use of a skincare product, an individual ought to instantly take away any contaminated clothes and wash the pores and skin with clear operating water for 20 minutes. It is very important keep away from contact with the runoff water.

If the product is on the face, an individual can do that by tipping their head over a sink, tub, or bathe basin earlier than pouring water from a jug. Alternatively, they might use a showerhead.

After washing the pores and skin totally, it’s advisable to talk with a health care provider. Docs do not recommend systemic medicines, resembling antibiotics or steroids, to deal with chemical burns. Nevertheless, they could want to prescribe a topical antibiotic or low energy steroid cream to stop an infection.

If the burn is extreme, it’s important to go to the emergency division of the closest hospital.

After an individual has acquired therapy for the burn, they need to take steps to let the pores and skin heal. These might contain:

  • maintaining the pores and skin clear
  • avoiding using any probably irritating merchandise
  • making use of a topical remedy
  • making use of petroleum jelly to maintain the affected space moist
  • monitoring the wound for indicators of an infection
  • staying out of the solar

It may be useful to inform a health care provider which product brought on the burn. If doable, an individual can take the product or substances label to indicate the physician. They’ll have the ability to advise on how greatest to look after the pores and skin till it heals and which merchandise to make use of or keep away from.

Some skincare merchandise include acids, which exfoliate the face by dissolving the outermost layer of pores and skin cells and oil. Most over-the-counter (OTC) merchandise that include these acids are weak, with a pH of about 4. This isn’t dissimilar to the pores and skin’s pure pH, which is barely acidic.

Nevertheless, stronger merchandise do exist, significantly in chemical peels. Often, solely certified professionals can perform these stronger peels, however some individuals might try to make use of them at residence.

Alternatively, an individual would possibly use a weak or reasonable energy product too typically, which may additionally end in pores and skin harm.

Under are a few of the skincare substances that will trigger burns or burn-like signs.


AHAs are a bunch of acids that exfoliate the pores and skin. They can help with:

  • smoothing strains and wrinkles
  • bettering floor texture and tone
  • unblocking pores
  • bettering pores and skin situation

Nevertheless, they will trigger opposed results, resembling:


BHAs are one other kind of acid with barely completely different properties to AHAs. Salicylic acid is without doubt one of the hottest, and it’s an ingredient in lots of remedies for zits because of its potential to unblock pores. It could even be current in topical remedies for:

Salicylic acid is available in a wide range of types, with concentrations starting from 0.5% to 30%. Greater concentrations might produce stinging, irritation, or burns, which can manifest as:

  • irritation
  • flushing or discoloration
  • unusually heat pores and skin

Along with chemical burns, the substances in some skincare merchandise might trigger different forms of burns or signs which are just like a burn. These embody:

Retinol burn

Retinoids, resembling retinol, are types of vitamin A. They’re current in lots of skincare merchandise however may cause what some seek advice from as “retinol burn.” Not like burns from acids, retinol burn shouldn’t be a real chemical burn however a type of pores and skin irritation.

The signs of retinoid irritation can embody:

  • discoloration or irritation
  • blistering
  • stinging
  • swelling

Utilizing retinoids for the primary time, for prolonged intervals, or at excessive strengths might result in retinol burn. Generally, the signs get higher because the pores and skin adjusts to the product, but when they don’t enhance, it is very important converse with a dermatologist.


AHAs and BHAs enhance pores and skin sensitivity to UV gentle from the solar, in addition to tanning beds. Retinoids also have this impact.

Due to this fact, if somebody makes use of these substances after which has publicity to the solar, they could develop a burn. Carrying sunscreen every single day in the course of the therapy and for 1 week afterward may help stop this. Folks present process chemical peels might must keep away from UV publicity totally for a while.

The signs of sunburn can embody:

  • heat, tender pores and skin
  • soreness
  • blistering
  • redness, in individuals with gentle pores and skin

Contact dermatitis

Skincare merchandise and cosmetics can include irritants and allergens. Generally, these trigger contact dermatitis, which is a kind of eczema. The signs might embody:

  • a rash
  • itching
  • burning
  • peeling or flaking pores and skin
  • irritation of the nostril, eyes, and mouth

Some substances in skincare merchandise that may probably trigger contact dermatitis include:

  • fragrances
  • dyes
  • preservatives

The easiest way to keep away from getting a burn when utilizing skincare merchandise is to comply with the directions both on the product label or from a dermatologist. An individual ought to by no means use a product extra often than it states on the label, except a health care provider says in any other case.

If an individual is making an attempt AHAs, BHAs, or retinoids for the primary time, it’s best to start out off with a low focus or energy. They’ll introduce one product at a time, patch testing it on a small space of the pores and skin earlier than utilizing it on the remainder of the face.

Folks might profit from utilizing a small amount of the brand new product as soon as every week to start with earlier than working as much as the beneficial quantity or frequency.

Basically, it’s advisable to keep away from utilizing a number of merchandise that include lively substances, resembling acids, on the identical time. As an alternative, an individual ought to use such merchandise for only one step of their skincare routine. For instance, they may use a toner with acids in it however then keep away from this ingredient of their cleanser or moisturizer.

Lastly, it’s essential to put on ample sunscreen whereas utilizing acids or retinoids.

An individual ought to converse with a health care provider in the event that they expertise:

  • a response to a product that doesn’t enhance after they cease utilizing it
  • indicators of an infection, resembling heat pores and skin, swelling, pus, or fever
  • frequent rashes or burns of unknown origin

Quick medical assist is critical if a skincare product causes:

  • extreme burning or ache
  • a rash that spreads quickly
  • pores and skin blistering
  • swelling within the mouth, lips, or throat

A chemical burn on the face from skincare may happen after utilizing merchandise that include AHAs or BHAs, resembling lactic, salicylic, or glycolic acid. It’s extra prone to occur with stronger remedies or chemical peels than with OTC merchandise.

If a chemical burn happens, an individual ought to wash the affected space of the pores and skin with massive quantities of water. To permit the pores and skin to heal, it is very important cease utilizing acids and different probably irritating merchandise, as these may make the burn worse.

An individual can apply petroleum jelly to maintain the pores and skin moist and use sunscreen to guard the pores and skin from the solar.

It’s also vital to put on sunscreen every single day whereas utilizing exfoliants, as they enhance the danger of sunburn even when they don’t harm the pores and skin.

Anybody who experiences extreme or persistent signs ought to converse with a health care provider.