Prevention Tips: Skin Care Chemical Burns

Acid exfoliants, retinoids and other potent ingredients can potentially cause a chemical burn if used improperly.
Acid exfoliants, retinoids and other potent ingredients can potentially cause a chemical burn if used improperly.

Misusing skin care products could potentially cause a chemical burn. When dealing with this type of damage, it is essential to act quickly and possibly seek medical attention if the damage is severe. An article from Medical News Today discussed the treatment and prevention methods of chemical burns.

Related: Spring Essentials: SPF & Antioxidants

Acid exfoliants that typically include glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid can cause chemical burns with overuse or allergic reaction. AHAs and BHAs increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, making sunburn more likely.

The best way to avoid burns from skin care products is to consult a dermatologist and only use as instructed, never overuse a product, unless instructed by a doctor. It is also recommended to start with low strength and dose when using AHAs, BHAs or retinoids and slowly increase the dosage after extended use. In general, it is suggested to avoid using multiple products with the same active ingredients in a routine.

The symptoms of a chemical burn identified in the article include skin discoloration or inflammation, a burning sensation, pain, numbness, blistering and peeling. While retinoids can cause similar symptoms, it is considered a form of skin irritation and not a true chemical burn.

If any of these symptoms occur after applying a skin care product, a person should immediately wash the skin with clean running water for 20 minutes and remove any contaminated clothes. If the burn is severe, it is essential to go to an emergency room.

When washing the skin, it is important to avoid contact with the runoff water. If the product is on the face, a person can do this by using a showerhead or tipping their head over a sink and pouring water from above.

After washing the skin thoroughly, it is advisable to speak with a doctor, who might prescribe a topical antibiotic or low-strength steroid cream to prevent infection.

Post-treatment, patients should avoid using any potentially irritating products, stay out of the sun, keep the skin clean and monitor the wound and use any prescribed topical medications.

More in Facial