Allergic reaction to DIY face mask
May 5, 2015 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Hi, everyone. So I had a very bad reaction to a face mask I made at home using matcha green tea powder and lemon juice to treat my acne scarring. I left it on for just over an hour, and now my face has tiny red bumps all over it! It's itchy, flaky, has dry patches all over and it's burning like crazy! I've applied lemon on my face numerous times before and never had any problems, so it might have been the combination with the matcha powder. My face looks like a swollen tomato. Any idea on how to make the bumps and dry skin go away? I'll go see a doctor tomorrow but I'm just wondering what I can do in the meantime to make my face heal? Thanks so much!
posted by KTN to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wash your face with mild soap and water, if you haven't already, and then LEAVE IT ALONE. This is one of those "less is more" situations.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:16 PM on May 5, 2015 [15 favorites]

Oh man welcome to my life with all skin products. My forehead has only JUST reached the peeling stage after one month of hell thanks to a drugstore brand primer that left me with rosacea like acne that never ever went away. Don't put anything else on your skin product wise and instead get a washcloth, run it under warm or cool water depending on your preference, and just let it sit on your face for a bit. Stay away from hot/cold water as that will just aggravate it. Take a picture of your face right now too so you can show a dermatologist/doctor what everything looked like in the moment.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:22 PM on May 5, 2015

Take something for the pain - tylenol or aspirin. If you have benadryl that should help with the itching.

You could try mixing baking soda with water, dampening a soft cloth with the mixture, and then dabbing it to your face. I've known that to help with other skin irritations. But based on what Hermione says it may just be the cool water that's helping and not the baking soda...
posted by bunderful at 7:23 PM on May 5, 2015

It's unlikely that this is an allergic reaction--it's much more likely to be an acid burn.

Seconding the previous recommendation to wash with a very mild soap, rinse with a lot of only water, and then leave your skin alone.

If you have an antihistamine available (like Benadryl), take one and see if the reaction stops (in the event that it is an allergic response).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 7:24 PM on May 5, 2015 [10 favorites]

Take ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation, drink a good amount of water, maybe put aloe vera on it. Essentially, treat it like a sunburn (as others are noting, the main thing is to leave it alone).
posted by veery at 7:24 PM on May 5, 2015 [9 favorites]

Bunderful brings up a good point about managing the pain. Advil can help reduce inflammation, and a non-drowsy Benadryl could minimize the potential histamine reaction your face may be having. YMMV.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:25 PM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Wash your face with mild soap and water

This, but I want to super duper stress the mild part of that. If you have Cetaphil cleanser use that. But honestly if you don't have any fragrance/dye/soap-free cleanser, just splash your face with plain, tepid water alone.

You really don't want to add anything to it that could exacerbate your problems.
posted by phunniemee at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Aloe and or vitamin E if it feels painful. Nothing alcohol based. Less is more. Leave it alone if possible, except for cool compress.
posted by slateyness at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2015

OK, I'm going to be THAT person. Please do not put lemon juice or baking soda on your face. It unbalances your skin pH, makes it susceptible to all kinds of unfun stuff, and lemon juice makes your skin photosensitive and burn.

You can find better products and DIY skincare recipes at the skincareaddiction forum on Reddit: They would also be pretty knowledgeable about what to do now, to counter the effects of what's happening.
posted by Xere at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2015 [28 favorites]

You should probably take an antihistamine for the dermatitis. Make sure you've rinsed off anything left on your face with cool water.

And don't put lemon juice on your face for an hour anymore.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:43 PM on May 5, 2015

Do you have some kind of cortisone cream? That will probably help (as long as you're not allergic to it).

Definitely take an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory.

See if you can take some time to hang out at home - if you can avoid putting makeup on or otherwise messing with your skin, it will be nicer in a lot of ways.
posted by amtho at 7:44 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

...And look into legit treatments for the acne scarring. If you think it needs to be addressed, address it seriously.
posted by amtho at 7:45 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for all your advice. Sigh. I haven't had too much luck with dermatologist-prescribed scarring treatments in the past, so I thought I'd try the natural route this time. Lesson learned. Big time.

I just hope this doesn't leave permanent scarring.
posted by KTN at 8:17 PM on May 5, 2015

Natural stuff isn't all that bad, but maybe you can learn a little more about it before trying again.
posted by amtho at 8:23 PM on May 5, 2015

There's literally no mask that should be on your face for an hour.
posted by padraigin at 8:24 PM on May 5, 2015 [16 favorites]

If you have chamomile tea, make some and dab some of that with a cotton ball. It should help with the inflamation.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:29 PM on May 5, 2015

Benedryl, claritin or allegra.

Agree regarding washing with mild soap (and continue to do so for a long time after this).

In the future if you decide to do something similar, do it for waaay less time and test on a small part of your skin first.
posted by Toddles at 8:52 PM on May 5, 2015

I'll nth advil + benadryl. I would hesitate to put cortisone on without the okay of a doctor since this seems like it might be more like a chemical burn than just an allergic reaction. Also, I'm just not sure about the idea of covering your entire face in cortisone. I would recommend using a lot of cool (not cold, not hot) water to rinse of your face and very mild soap if you have it. (Cetaphil is what I use for this kind of thing). A cool, damp washcloth is also a good idea to help bring down some of the swelling and maybe relieve the itching. Hopefully taking benadryl will help with any allergic reaction that might be going on.

In the future, you might want to first try out any mask or other skin product on a small part of your face (or even on your arm) and leave it on for awhile to see if you have a reaction before you try it out on your whole face.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:52 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

seconding padraigin - I think leaving this on for an hour was your problem right there. And I doubt this will be a permanently-scarring type of situation, but give your skin a break.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 PM on May 5, 2015

Oh, and people often suggest raw cucumber slices for soothing sunburns - I wonder if that would have the same effect? (Literally, just slice a cucumber real thin and lay it on your face - but then TAKE THEM OFF after about ten minutes.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

You really don't want to add anything to it that could exacerbate your problems.

Nthing this. I would not put chamomile tea on your face. If you are allergic to ragweed or any of its family members, you may be prone to developing contact allergies to chamomile. You could always do a patch test on your arm, but the skin on your face is what matters, and now is not the time to be experimenting.

Give it more time, and drink lots of water to keep flushing your system out.
posted by invisible ink at 9:37 PM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Quite possible you gave yourself an acid burn. I second the SkincareAddiction subreddit linked above. If I were you I'd take a cool shower and rinse the crap out of my face. Don't apply soap. Then while your face is still damp slather on some Vaseline to lock in the moisture. I would not try to apply any fancy moisturizers because given the current state of your skin you may make it hurt worse.

It is really, really important that you rinse thoroughly before applying the Vaseline, otherwise the Vaseline is going to lock it in whatever miniscule remnants are left on your face.
posted by Anonymous at 11:05 PM on May 5, 2015

Don't use Vaseline! I tried that after sunburn and windburn on my face and it did. not. help. It was like my skin couldn't breathe and it became incredibly rough and itchy.
posted by penguin pie at 1:44 AM on May 6, 2015

I use baking soda to neautralize the acid when I put chemical peel on my face. But if I was you I would wait until I got to the doctors tomorrow to do anything more. I agree that it sounds like you acid burnt your face. There is nothing you can do to help it heal, except not aggravate it more... so if I were you I would seriously leave it alone, wear a hat if you go outside, and maybe some aloe vera... If you need some idea of a time frame, when I chemical peel myself, it takes 5-10 days to heal up. 5 days if its just a light burn, and 10 days if it was a deeper peel... I wouldn't expect to look better for a few days if I was you! Good luck... I hope that it settles down!
posted by catspajammies at 3:07 AM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Please don't put anything else on your face tonight. Avoid sunlight for the next few days. Once your skin in less irritated and can handle lotion, make sure you use SPF on your face.

You should never put lemon juice on your face. And please do not listen to advice here saying that you should use baking soda. Have a read of this article for more info.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:36 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

As soon as it settles down make sure to put sunblock on the damaged area and be wary of Sun exposure for a week or two. Citrus oils and acidic things can increase your skins photo sensitivity.
posted by wwax at 6:45 AM on May 6, 2015

I just got through a rough bout of dermatitis, so I'm feeling a little passionate about this...

STOP. Don't put ANYTHING on your face except for lots of cool/tepid water. Just don't. Not soap, not cortisone, not baking soda, not lotion, not Vaseline, not chamomile, not...I dunno, calamine or witch hazel or apple cider vinegar or aloe or Vit E or anything else that sounds soothingly tempting based on a skincare forum or something.

(I've gotten perfectly nice advice from such forums, but this is Not The Time. You're going to see a doctor tomorrow. You're not going to heal your face before then, and you don't need to, because you're going to see a doctor tomorrow.)

But yes, go ahead and take some Advil or Aspirin or Aleve which may help with the inflammation. Drink plenty of water, too.
posted by desuetude at 1:59 PM on May 6, 2015

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