Tingling Skin - Is it in?
You know the feeling. That tingling, prickly sensation you get on your skin after applying a skincare product. Reminds me of the days of Sea Breeze! Many people assume that this reaction means that the product is working but that's not necessarily the case.
Products such as chemical exfoliators can tingle for a good reason. Chemical exfoliators may include Alpha Hydroxy Acids (lactic acid, glycolic acid) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (salicylic acid). These acids will usually cause a reaction when they absorb into your skin. These acids have a pH about 3-4 and your skin has a pH of about 5.5 (1 = very acidic, 7 = neutral, 14 = very alkaline) and this causes the skin to become temporarily unbalanced. Applying a lotion or face oil afterward will help rebalance your skin's pH.
Face masks containing menthol, peppermint or camphor can cause stinging. Avoid these if you have sensitive or dry skin.
Other ingredients that can cause tingling are alcohol, surfactants such as SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) and some preservatives. As well, your skin's barrier function may be weak which makes it susceptible to irritation and inflammation.
If the tingling is mild and doesn't last long then it's probably fine. If the tingling becomes stinging or burning, lasts a long time or causes redness or peeling, it's doing you more harm than good.