Is Acne Cream Supposed to Burn? An Investigative Piece
We are all familiar with the characteristic burn that accompanies trying out a new skincare product. The burning, hot, prickly and tingling flush as if reminding us that we are about to venture into unknown cosmetic territory. Many, even the best among us, tend to assume that this burn implies that the product is already working its magic to get rid of the unsightly acne bumps or minimize the conspicuousness of the scars. But is that really the case? More precisely, is acne cream supposed to burn? Let's find out through this short but comprehensive writeup.
What Does a Tingling or Burning Sensation Imply?
At this juncture, it is highly likely that you could be wondering; why is my face burning after using acne cream? Does that mean that the product is working as intended or am I just worsening an already bad situation? Is it normal when acne cream burns my face?
The best way to get to the bottom of this conundrum is investigating what different tingling sensations imply and their overall impact to your skincare endeavors. You see, whether or not a particular cream will elicit a burning or tingling effect will be highly dependent on the type and nature of active ingredient used in the formulation and how well (or not) it gels with your skin type. Here's a quick premise on that.
1. What Does a Benzoyl Peroxide Burn Mean?
Of all ingredients used in conventional acne creams, none receives more heat than the benzoyl peroxide burn that is synonymous with trying out a product for the first time. And there are several plausible explanations that could help answer the question, why does benzoyl peroxide burn?
Here's the thing, one of the very first things that you are likely to notice as soon as you apply a product that contains this active ingredient is that your skin becomes extremely dry. And while it is possible to alleviate some of this characteristic flaking and dryness by using a well-formulated oil-free moisturizer, the feeling of benzoyl peroxide burning face still lingers on. This is actually one of the major recognized side effects of benzoyl peroxide particularly during the initial stages of an acne treatment regimen.
So, is benzoyl peroxide supposed to burn? It's highly likely that there is no escaping the sting or burn that is associated with benzoyl peroxide if you have never used a product that employs it as an active ingredient before. In other words, expect your skin to get a little itchy or red after the first or second application of the acne cream that contains it. This, nonetheless, does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to it or that it is working wonders behind the scenes. The only thing that you can be sure of at this point in time is that you are yet to get used to the new acne cream which is why you may want to reconsider its usage if it continues to sting weeks after the first application.
2. What Does a Salicylic Acid Burn Mean?
A sizable percentage of users to this ingredient often encounter the infamous salicylic acid burn as soon as they start using this ingredient. Most experts speculate that this is because salicylic acid is essentially a beta-hydroxy acid which acts primarily as a chemical exfoliator. By itself, this is not entirely a bad thing considering that exfoliation is one of the ways one can use to get rid of common acne blockages that form around one's hair follicles that later escalate to blackheads and whiteheads.
Besides, as absurd as its sounds, salicylic acid burn treatment is actually a way of extracting trapped debris, skin cells, oil, and other follicle-blocking chaff that could (in one way or another) instigate or accelerate a breakout. Speaking of which, salicylic acid essentially works by penetrating the oil gland and hair follicle before dissolving the acne-causing deadwood that would otherwise trigger a flare up.
What's more, don't forget that this beta-hydroxy acid is also believed to be crucial in regulating the amount of sebum produced. Which, as you would imagine, has a bearing on how likely it is for these acne-triggering blockages to form or how much bigger they can get. Combine these two with the fact salicylic acid generally penetrates deeper than many chemical exfoliators when it comes to regulating oil production and removing blockages and you have the perfect acne-fighting ingredient.
It, therefore, should not come as a surprise that some of the most practical acne-combating creams such as AENO's Acne Treatment Natural Cream employ salicylic acid in its formulation. And putting into consideration that this is an ingredient that numerous studies have shown packs significant anti-inflammatory properties, a mild irritation or slight tingling effect seems like a small price to pay at the end of the day.
3. Is it Normal to Experience a Chemical Burn on Face from Acne Cream?
Aside from typical side effects, a chemical burn on face from acne cream is not in any shape or form normal or expected, especially if it is accompanied by extreme redness or a persistent irritation. With all intents and purposes, this could imply an allergic reaction or that your skin is not compatible with one or more of the active ingredients in the cream. And if you are not careful, this chemical burn on face from acne cream treatment could very easily morph into a more severe breakout which could inflict more damage on your already inflamed skin.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why it is advisable to cease applying a breakout cream as soon as you notice an extreme chemical burn from acne medication, especially if you have sensitive skin. You should also seek comprehensive advice from your dermatologist regarding whether or not you should permanently discontinue the acne medication in light of the irritation and excessive dryness or peeling caused by it.
An acne cream is not supposed to burn and, certainly, more sensation is not necessarily a sure-fire sign that your skincare regimen is working as it is supposed to. On the contrary, you could be doing just the opposite - inflicting more damage that you would fathom to your skin. If anything, the most helpful ingredients will work quietly and unobtrusively behind the scenes rather than give an uncomfortable scald or sear. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should go for acne products that have little or no burn at all for the most effective, enjoyable and practical skincare experience.