Everyone wants to avoid rashes and harsh reactions to skincare products. That is one reason many prefer to make their own homemade personal care products using natural ingredients.

But it is important to remember that one can react to natural ingredients, too, even when used properly. The reaction may simply be a personal or hereditary sensitivity to a plant, oil, or ingredient and doesn’t necessarily signify anything about the product or ingredient itself.


In order to prevent larger outbreaks and the waste of valuable ingredients, it is a good idea to try new ingredients out individually before a recipe is assembled, if there is any doubt about sensitivity. If the recipe has already been assembled, it too can be tested, though it will be less clear which ingredient caused a reaction.

How to Test For a Reaction: The Patch Test

The easiest and most widely used method for testing the skin for a reaction is to use what is called the patch test.

  1. Apply a small amount of an ingredient to a patch of skin on the inner, lower arm. Rub it in and allow it to dry on the skin.
  2. Do not wash that area of the skin for at least 24 hours; watch for signs of a reaction.
  3. If there is no visible or tactile reaction to the product or ingredient, then it is likely that you will not react negatively to the product or ingredient when used on other portions of the body. The patch of skin can then be washed.

What Are Signs of a Reaction?

Look for any redness, swelling, itching, burning, bumps, or other unusual reaction to the skin.

Less likely but possible other reactions to watch for include shortness of breath or tightening of the throat due to a severe reaction.

Things to Keep in Mind When Skin Testing

  • It is important to test only one product at a time, as reactions within the body also need to be monitored.
  • Not all sensitivities are detected with this simple, at-home test. Continue to be vigilant in listening to your body whenever a new skincare product, ingredient, or food is introduced to the body.