Face Wash Allergy Symptoms

Exposure to certain ingredients in face washes, cosmetics and other skincare products can cause allergic contact dermatitis in some people. While sensitivity to substances differs from person to person, some compounds -- such as perfumes -- initiate allergy symptoms more often than others. Simple skin irritation will leave mild red patches, while true allergies create a host of skin symptoms. Learn which facial care ingredients trigger allergic reactions so you can avoid including them in your daily routine.

Young woman washing her face in bathroom sink Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Skin Itching and Stinging

Itching or stinging sensations in the skin may be your first sign of irritation from a product. These symptoms may begin immediately after contact with a substance or as many as 10 days later, if it is a patient's first incidence of contact. When the skin absorbs the allergenic ingredients in facial cleansers, the body sends histamines into the blood. These chemicals cause uncomfortable skin itching. Most contact dermatitis allergy symptoms take place at the point of exposure. Face wash, however, can drip and splash, and either a few or all areas of contact may be affected.

Eye Problems

If irritating skincare ingredients reach your eyes, your may experience allergic conjunctivitis. The symptoms of this condition include red and itchy eyes, which may become watery and overflow with tears. Like skin problems, long-term eye symptoms can create lasting damage, so take steps to identify and remove the allergenic substance from your environment. Read product ingredient labels to associate your allergy symptoms with specific skincare formulas. A doctor's advice may be necessary to determine the component of the product that might be causing the reaction.


Chemical elements in fragrances, dyes and preservatives most often cause allergic contact dermatitis. Even after rinsing off an allergenic face wash, the inflammation caused by common allergens such as formaldehyde or alpha hydroxy acids progresses. Facial skin may show redness in patches. Allergic reactions to skincare products often result in painful, bumpy or swollen rashes caused by inflammation. You may experience rashes that are dry, crusty and scaly, or blister-like lesions that can grow and ooze fluid. These areas are susceptible to skin infection.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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