Okay, so you slathered on a tablespoon of Retin-A before bed and woke up looking like you belong in a lobster pot.
What’s next? “Don’t try to put on any mask that claims to be ‘calming,’” advises Dr Matthew Zirwas, director of the Ohio Contact Dermatitis Centre. At this point, your skin is so sensitive that it will not take kindly to any cosmetic formulation. Instead, soothe skin with a cold compress by dipping a washcloth into two cups of water and a quarter-teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (this makes the skin slightly more acidic, which helps reduce irritation). Hold the compress against your face for 10 minutes.
When you’re finished, mix a solution of equal parts organic vegetable glycerin and water and apply the tonic to your face (this draws calming moisture into the skin). Seal this with organic coconut oil. “Make sure it is cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, because the refining process removes a lot of the beneficial compounds,” says Zirwas. Repeat the process two or three times a day until swelling subsides.
If the pain and/or inflammation is severe, affects your whole body, lasts longer than two weeks, or is accompanied at any point by other signs and symptoms—extreme tiredness, weight loss, changes in bowel habits or urinary frequency or fever—see a doctor, as it could be a more serious condition.