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Image / Beauty

A clever sensitivity test to check what skin is reacting to


By Aisling Keenan
20th Aug 2019
A clever sensitivity test to check what skin is reacting to

Trying a DIY sensitivity test or minimising your routine could help you identify the culprit of any breakouts, rashes or itchy patches…


If you’re using ten different skincare or cosmetic products on your face and you break out, it’s not feasible to just throw out everything you were using and move on to a different selection of products. Sometimes you need to figure out what exactly it was that caused the reaction, so you know to avoid it in future.

Sensitivity test

Recently, I developed a sensitivity to a skincare product. I got a little red rash and tiny bumpy dots on one side of my face, and I wasn’t sure which of the many, many skincare and cosmetic products it was. So to try figure that out, I tried a DIY (and very rudimentary) sensitivity test.

sensitivity test

First, I narrowed down the five skincare products that I had most recently added and thought were the most likely culprits of the sensitivity.

  • I made sure the area of skin was dry and clean
  • I drew a small grid onto my forearm, along my inner arm below the crook of the elbow going in the direction of my hand
  • I applied a small amount of each product onto the grid in accordance with a matching grid I wrote down, so I’d know which patch correlated to which product
  • I then covered the small area with a bandage and left the products there for the day (and didn’t get them wet!)

The result

If you are sensitive to any of the products, a reaction such as itching, bumps or redness should occur within 24  hours. If you feel an immediate irritation or reaction, remove the bandage immediately and wash area thoroughly.

sensitivity test

I discovered which product I was allergic to as the area got quite red and bumpy, the rest of the patches were fine.

Take care!

It goes without saying that if you have a full-on allergy or allergic reaction, you should seek advice from your GP immediately, as these types of DIY tests identify mild sensitivities rather than skin triggered allergies.


Read more: These three ingredients are lifesavers for sensitive skin

Read more: 10 ways to manage your allergies during pollen season

Read more: Body positivity and how it affects our everyday lives

Photos from Unsplash