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'PATCH TESTS' - What are they and why do you need to carry them out?

A 'patch test' or 'patch testing' is a method of determining whether a person is allergic to any substances that are applied to the skin. It is advisable to undertake a patch test every time you use a new product or before beginning general use in order to ascertain whether your skin is likely to react to the different substances within the product, therefore causing irritation and inflammation of the skin. This reaction is called 'Contact' Dermatitis.

It is extremely important to carry out a patch test especially if you have sensitive skin or have had a history of contact dermatitis in the past. Furthermore, if you have persistent or unusual eczema, you should always carry out a patch test to ensure compatibility between the product and your skin.

To carry out a patch test, you must first apply a small amount of the product you intend to use, 24 hours before you want to use it, to a small inconspicuous area, for example behind the ear. Leave it on your skin for 24 hours and if you have any redness, swelling or discomfort, or a rash appears within this time you should remove the product immediately from your skin, using face wash or make-up remover and do not use again. Should you get a reaction of any kind this may be an indication that you are likely to be allergic to one or multiple ingredients in the product, therefore it is advisable not to use it. This is called 'Allergic Contact Dermatitis' and basically means that your immune system has developed a hypersensitivity or over sensitivity to an ingredient within the product.

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