Why Is My Moisturizer Burning My Face All of a Sudden?

You may use your trusty moisturizer, only to find that it now burns when applied to your skin.

This reaction happens more often than you think. Everyone's skin changes, and sometimes, what worked in the past can trigger a skin reaction in the present.

Reactions between your moisturizer and another skin care product may also cause this new burning sensation.

If you have introduced a new cleanser, the combined ingredients might be irritating. Keep reading to discover why your moisturizer stings and which products you can replace it with.

Common Ingredients in Moisturizers

Moisturizers typically contain several key ingredients, each serving a specific purpose in skincare.

If your skin remains dry after moisturizing, ensure your moisturizer has some of the following ingredients.

While these ingredients are essential in moisturizing a dry face, they can also potentially cause reactions, particularly in most people with sensitive skin types. Fortunately, Kinship's Supermello Moisturizer is formulated specifically for sensitive skin.

Several common ingredient types are listed below.

  • Emollients: These ingredients, like ceramides and shea butter, soften and smooth the skin.
  • Humectants: Substances like hyaluronic acid and glycerin attract hydration to the skin.
  • Occlusives: Ingredients like petroleum jelly and lanolin form a protective barrier to prevent water loss. Note that Kinship products use vegan formulas and don't include lanolin.
  • Preservatives: Compounds like parabens and formaldehyde prevent microbial growth. All Kinship products are paraben-free!
  • Fragrances: Added to provide a pleasant scent. Many Kinship skin care products are lightly scented, achieved with natural, soothing ingredients.
  • Antioxidants: These ingredients, like vitamin E and green tea extract, fight free radicals that can damage skin cells and contribute to wrinkles and signs of aging.

Potential Causes of the Burning Sensation

To understand why your moisturizer burns, identify the potential causes.

Some potential causes include the following.

  • Irritants
  • Dry skin
  • Sensitivity to certain fragrances and preservatives
  • The moisturizer is not formulated for your skin type
  • A reaction between different skin care products

Identifying the cause of the burning is crucial to understanding why your moisturizer is causing discomfort and how you can adjust your skincare routine as needed.

The sections below will cover each of these causes in turn.

Ingredients Causing Irritation

Certain ingredients can function as irritants, especially for sensitive skin.

These include the following.

  • Fragrances: Many fragrances can trigger skin burns in particularly sensitive people.
  • Preservatives: Preservatives are one of the main reasons behind moisturizer burn. Watch out for parabens and formaldehyde in your skin care products.
  • Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives): These anti-aging ingredients can cause temporary burns, particularly in higher concentrations. Fortunately, Kinship uses a non-irritating Bio-Retinoid Complex to avoid issues.
  • AHA (Alpha hydroxy acids): Ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid, while effective for anti-aging and skin layer exfoliation, can cause burning in some people.
  • Alcohol: Often used in cleanser products, alcohol can dry out and burn your face, sometimes leading to a rash.
  • BHA (Beta hydroxy acid): Ingredients for acne treatment, like salicylic acid, can burn your face.

Dry Patches and Irritated Skin

Dry or irritated skin can be extra reactive to moisturizers. Here is why:

  • Dry Air: Low humidity sucks hydration from your skin barrier and makes it more susceptible to burns and other sensitivity.
  • Harsh Soaps: Strong cleansers can strip away your skin's natural oils, leaving it vulnerable. Try Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Cleanser instead; This gentle cleanser balances your face's natural oils.
  • Weather Conditions: Cold wind and sun can irritate and dry out skin.
  • Genetics: Some people are naturally more prone to sensitive skin.
  • Skin Conditions: Eczema and psoriasis can make skin more reactive, leading to moisturizer burn.

Sensitivity to Fragrance or Preservatives

Sensitivity to fragrances or preservatives in moisturizers can lead to irritation and a burning sensation.

Look for products labeled "fragrance-free" or "paraben-free" to reduce the risk of irritation. This section will briefly define both sensitivities.

  1. Fragrance Sensitivity

Fragrances are irritants, so people with delicate skin or conditions like contact dermatitis are more prone to fragrance sensitivity.

Despite its pleasant smell, the chemicals used to create scents can cause skin burns, redness, and allergic reactions.

Also, even if a skin care product is labeled "natural," its fragrances and essential oils can still trigger irritation.

  1. Preservative Sensitivity

Preservatives prevent microbial growth in skincare products, like makeup. However, certain preservatives are irritants.

Ingredients like parabens, formaldehyde, and methylisothiazolinone can cause burning and allergic reactions.

Using the Wrong Type of Moisturizer

A moisturizer can harm you if not formulated for your skin type. Using products that cater specifically to your skin’s needs can eliminate and alleviate burning sensations on your face or body.

Understanding your skin type is essential to choosing the right moisturizer.

Use this quick guide to skin types to determine which products to look for.

  • Normal Skin: Not too oily or too dry. The wrong moisturizers can cause excessive oiliness or dryness if not properly balanced.
  • Dry Skin: This skin type feels tight, rough, or flaky. Heavy lotions may feel soothing initially, but they will eventually trap heat and clog your pores. Consider lighter formulas with hyaluronic acid or glycerin.
  • Oily Skin: This type is shiny and greasy, especially in the T-zone. Using oil-free products that contain alcohol can be too drying and irritating. Look for "non-comedogenic" labels to avoid clogging your pores.
  • Combination Skin: This skin type has dry and oily areas, typically in the T-zone and dry on the cheeks. Using a single-type moisturizer may not address the different needs of the skin. It may lead to either too much oiliness or not enough hydration.
  • Sensitive Skin: Most prone to redness, burning, or allergic reaction. Fragrances, preservatives, or other harsh ingredients can easily cause irritation and burning sensations.

Finding the right moisturizer that aids with various skin types may be difficult but with our Supermello Gel Cream Moisturizer, your skin can feel fresh and hydrated throughout the day. 

Reaction to Other Skincare Products

On the other hand, your burn may be caused by your moisturizer interacting with other products.

For example, chemical exfoliants or acne treatments, like salicylic and glycolic acids, can make the outermost layer of the skin more sensitive.

If you wear makeup, your skin will interact with various ingredients, increasing the risk of skin burns. Proper cleansing is advised to fully wash products off, and your cleanser may react to your moisturizer.

A harsh cleanser can strip the outermost layer of your skin of its natural oils, making it more prone to burns when applying moisturizer.

Try simplifying your routine and using a gentle cleanser to identify the culprit.

How to Diagnose the Cause

Figuring out why your moisturizer burns is key to restoring your skin. Ensure you understand how much moisturizer to use. This will ensure your skin is not under or over-moisturized.

You can try patch testing or consulting a dermatologist to diagnose your moisturizer burns.

Patch Testing

Performing a patch test can help identify potential allergens or irritants in your moisturizer. Patch-test every new product before incorporating them into your routine.

Here is a simple guide to patch testing.

  1. Apply a small amount of the moisturizer to a clean, unbroken skin area on your inner forearm.
  2. Wait 24-48 hours.
  3. Look for signs of allergic reaction like redness, itching, or burning.
  4. The product is likely safe for your face if no reaction or rash appears.
  5. Gradually work every new product into your routine to monitor their effects on you.

Consulting a Dermatologist

If the burning sensation persists or worsens, it is essential to consult a dermatologist.

They can perform diagnostic procedures like allergy testing to determine the cause of the irritation and recommend appropriate treatments.

They might use the following.

  • Visual examination: Your dermatologist will examine your skin to identify underlying conditions.
  • Skin tests: Moisturizer burn may be caused by an allergy. Skin tests can pinpoint specific allergies to ingredients.

Solutions and Alternatives

Identifying solutions and alternatives is crucial for addressing why your moisturizer is causing a burning sensation.

This section will discuss potential solutions to moisturizer burn, including the following.

  • Avoiding heavy moisturizers
  • Using gels or serums
  • Avoiding alcohol-based products
  • Finding suitable products.

Avoiding Heavy Moisturizers

Heavy creams can feel luxurious but can adversely affect some skin types. These thick formulas can clog pores and trap oil, leading to irritation and acne breakouts.

Opt for lighter gel creams to moisturize your skin without weight.

Look for ingredients like hyaluronic or glycerin, which maintain hydration levels and support the skin barrier.

In addition, knowing how to apply moisturizer ensures you get the most out of your chosen product.

Using Gels or Serums

Gels and serums are excellent alternatives to traditional cream products. They are lighter in formulation than a typical cream-based product and less likely to clog pores.

This makes them ideal for oily or acne-prone skin.

Incorporating gels and serums into your routine can provide the hydration your skin needs without the risk of heavy product buildup.

Avoiding Alcohol-based Products

Alcohol is a common ingredient in skincare products but can dry out and irritate skin.

When alcohol evaporates from the skin's surface, it takes moisture, leaving you with extremely dry skin.

Eliminate alcohol-based products from your routine and opt for lightweight, non-greasy moisturizers specifically formulated for your skin type.

Finding Suitable Products

Find a moisturizer that complements your skin type with the following tips.

  • Normal Skin: Use a moisturizer that maintains hydration without specific active ingredients.
  • Oily Skin: Look for lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic formulas. Gel moisturizers are a good option.
  • Dry Skin: Choose a richer gel or cream moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or ceramides to lock in moisture.
  • Sensitive Skin: Fragrance-free and paraben-free formulas are your best bet. Look for calming creams with ingredients that help repair and strengthen the skin barrier— like colloidal oatmeal or aloe vera.
  • Combination Skin: Opt for a balanced moisturizer that hydrates without being too heavy or light.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are common questions related to why your moisturizer might be burning your face all of a sudden.

Should I Stop Using Moisturizer if It Burns?

Yes. If your skincare product is causing discomfort, pain, or burning, stop using it and wash your face to remove the product.

This discomfort indicates that your product is damaging and irritating your skin barrier.

Why Does Moisturizer Burn My Dry Skin?

If your moisturizer burns, that indicates it is too strong for your skin. Products with harsh ingredients like alcohol can dry out, irritate, and damage the protective layer of your skin.

What Should I Do if My Face Burns After Applying Moisturizer?

If you feel stinging or burning, stop using the product immediately and wash your face with lukewarm water. The burning sensation indicates a pH imbalance or irritation.

Key Takeaways on Why Is My Moisturizer Burning My Face All of a Sudden?

Understanding why your moisturizer is suddenly causing a burning sensation is essential for maintaining healthy skin.

Keep the following points in mind when looking for a new moisturizing cream.

  • Your skin changes and a formerly benign moisturizer can cause an allergic reaction due to new sensitivities.
  • Fragrances, preservatives, and other ingredients can cause moisturizer burns.
  • Other personal care products can also cause moisturizer burns.
  • Patch testing can help identify allergens or irritants.
  • Consult a dermatologist for persistent skin burn concerns about underlying conditions.

A consistent skincare routine is key to healthy skin.

If you're new to skincare or finding suitable products, always choose gentle, clean, and plant-based products especially formulated to aid skin sensitivity. Discover Kinship!


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