Help me fix my face after a weird skin reaction!
March 31, 2008 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I had a sleep study done, and my face has broken out horribly where the electrodes had been glued on. I have never had any sort of reaction on my skin quite like this, so ... what do I do?

Background info:

Tuesday night & Wednesday day I had a sleep study with electrodes glued to my face/scalp/etc. When they removed the electrodes on Wednesday afternoon, it burned terribly and I was left with painful red welts where the electrodes had been. When I got home, I washed my face several times (to get all the glue off), slathered on some moisturizer (for sensitive skin), and went to bed. Over the next few days, the marks remained red, and lots of little pimples have been popping up in them...teeny tiny ones. In addition, the skin is red and peeling and feels like a healing and itchy sunburn.


In the next 2 weeks, I have to attend several wedding-related events (2 weddings, 2 rehearsal dinners, etc) of which I am the maid of honor for. I really want this cleared up by least to the point where makeup will actually hide the little fuckers. Right now makeup is pretty ineffective and I feel like it's probably not the best thing for my face either.

I am hesitant to put certain things on my face, such as neosporin, because it is very greasy and my skin is both very oily and very sensitive.

So... what do I do? What would you do?

I have tried, but not consistently, the following: thick moisturizer for sensitive skin (I hate this, it makes me feel greasy), neosporin (extremely greasy and disgusting), benzoyl peroxide cream (thought it might help the pimples, but am worried it will exacerbate the peeling/itching).
posted by tastybrains to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. A picture is worth a thousand words.

2. Hydrocortisone cream 1%. You might also go to your primary care provider and ask for an intramuscular corticosteroid injection.
posted by neuron at 8:41 AM on March 31, 2008

Response by poster: Unfortunately, I don't have the means of uploading a picture until I get home this evening, but to be a little more descriptive, they are quarter sized red marks that are peeling around the edges, slightly puffy, and have very small bumps (some of which are tiny whitehead pimples) inside them.

I hadn't though about hydrocortisone cream! Thank you
posted by tastybrains at 8:52 AM on March 31, 2008

Long term solution would be to contact the sleep study clinic, chances are you aren't the only one whose had this kind of reaction
posted by Texasjake987 at 8:53 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: It sounds like you had a mild chemical burn from the electrode glue.

If it were me: I would immediately stop putting additional chemicals on it (benzoyl, salicylic acid, neosporin, moisturizers), which are likely just making the situation far worse. As you've noted, you've got the red burny areas (which need moisture and healing) but the pimply areas (which need drying), so any one chemical solution is just going to fix one while exacerbating the other. Also, I wouldn't put even a whisper of makeup on it until you get the worst problems gone. I would also stop putting thick moisturizer on the spots -- if they are truly a burn, they need to breathe a little in order to heal, not be covered up by glycerin and methylparaben.

I would make some strong green tea and freeze it into ice cubes, and then apply the melting cubes to the spots (not straight out of the freezer, ouch! freezer burn! But after they've gone a bit liquidy in your hand), occasionally during the day. Green tea is full of polyphenols, which are touted internally for the anti-oxidant benefit -- but most people don't know that externally, they serve as a great anti-inflammatory and soother as well.

If the green tea seems to be having a positive result without side effects, you could go up to a diluted or direct application of tea tree oil on the spots -- which will also help the pimples since it is antiseptic (in fact, Wiki says that WebMD says that tea tree oil has equal effects to benzoyl peroxide). But, I would not start with straight tea tree oil as it is fairly harsh, especially on sensitive skin; I would work up to it.

And then, as a night treatment, I would apply honey to the spots before bed. Honey has antibacterial and moisturizing properties, which will soothe the redness and help get rid of the pimples popping up inside the red spots. It could be tricky to keep the honey from getting super-messy while you sleep -- but sleeping in a turban with a towel over your pillow is a small price to pay for not looking like a radiation victim in your friend's wedding album.

(These might sound hippie-dippy but I learned them from Gunilla Eisenberg, a facialist in San Francisco who was just featured in Allure for her general facial-care awesomeness.)
posted by pineapple at 9:00 AM on March 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Benadryl will reduce the breakout if it's an allergic reaction.

Visine (yes, visine) directly on the areas will cosmetically reduce the redness for short-term periods.
posted by unixrat at 9:07 AM on March 31, 2008

Best answer: Oh, and for the days of the events, if the spots weren't gone, I would probably try something like the Clean & Clear Advantage Invisible Acne Patch. It goes on like a liquid but then dries to a kind of smoothed out surface patch with some sort of polymers, and you can put makeup over it. Because it's got salicylic acid, you wouldn't want to leave it on any longer than necessary, but it could be a short-term fix.

I've never actually tried this stuff myself, but I would certainly give it a go if I were in your situation. You could do a test patch on the back of your hand or inner arm first, and even trial-run it with makeup, etc.
posted by pineapple at 9:16 AM on March 31, 2008

You're probably allergic to the glue. I can't use fabric plasters because the glue used on them gives me a reaction - a raised, red, irritated welt-like area in the shape of where the glue has been. Wouldn't surprise me if you are having a similar reaction to the electrode glue.

I would try and cover the area with some foundation or something, and try and let it heal of it's own accord. The last thing you need is a bigger mess through putting things you've never used before on an already irritated area of skin.
posted by fire&wings at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone!
posted by tastybrains at 6:14 PM on March 31, 2008

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