My First Severe Skin Allergy + A Bit of Rambling

2 weeks ago on a Friday I decided to try a BB cream that is highly raved from almost every corner in the world. Been reading so many good review on this so I finally got it. I had bought this 2 weeks earlier and I think it’s time to put this to a test and do a review on it. I put this on around 8am and just before I step out for lunch I had a slight itch and burning sensation on my forehead. I thought I was just feeling hot so I didn’t pay much attention to it. After lunch I took a look in the mirror and I can see that my forehead swell up a bit and the texture is uneven. I guess that’s what people called as “bee hive” which will only happen if you have allergy. I am fortunate to have the type of skin that I can slap on anything so I have not had this before and I was clueless. By the time I got off work I couldn’t stand the increasing itch on my face. After I reached home and removed my makeup my mum commented that I was looking pink. By night time I can see that I turned to red and my face is slightly hot when I touch it. Then I knew something is not right. I didn’t apply any skin care that night. But my face was so itchy that I applied Clinique Moisture Surge on because the gel cools my face down. I couldn’t sleep properly that night as it started to get painful. I remember waking up at 3am to look at the mirror. I guess I was hoping that everything will be okay after a sleep but I was wrong. I was still quite red as before and this time my face is swollen. The next morning I woke up with burning hot, maroon color, itchy and painful face. When I looked into the mirror I was horrified. My entire face was so burning red and I was a few tone darker. My face swelled up quite a lot too. I looked like I had severe sun burn. By 9am I rushed to the nearest skin specialist clinic bringing along the said BB cream. Doctor confirmed that I had severe skin allergy and it’s quite bad judging from the fact that I only had the BB cream in less than 9 hours. I was so worried that it’s going to be a permanent damage as my neighbor had the same thing too and it’s permanent for her. Doctor said it is not but will take a longer time to recover so I need to bear going out with this face for some time. I kept asking the doctor if it’s going to be permanent for several more time before leaving the clinic. I was prescribed with anti-itch med for morning and a different one for night as well as a face cream. The culprit? It’s the famous Garnier BB Cream. Hell yeah.

Skin Allergy1 When I mentioned that I had severe skin allergy all I get is “nah, it’s just a normal allergy…it’s not that serious”. Well sorry to say but damn you. You can say that because it doesn’t happen to you and you’re just being naive or shall I say mean? I don’t expect you to understand but try to be sensitive a bit. I do get a lot statement like “why would you try new product on your face”? Huh? Hallo?? If a beauty blogger doesn’t try it on her own face abuthen (the slang for common Singaporeans for “oh yes, it certainly is”) I should try it on your face? You’d be surprise to know these statement are from friends, blogger and even readers. Oh well. These pictures below are as it is. I’m not going to shrink it smaller so that you can see that this is indeed a serious type of skin allergy. So to the insensitive one tell me this is not serious to you???

Day 1 – Saturday

Skin Allergy2 I met up with a friend who had tried the BB cream before and she immediately knew what went wrong when I told her what cause me this. According to her there’s a particular ingredient called Lemon Fruit Extract which can cause such allergy as it’s a very very strong substance for face and it’s meant for whitening. DAMN YOU GARNIER. Don’t you know this?? Or you’re just taking a short cut in terms of whitening? I know lemon can be a powerful remover for household washing detergent but for face?? Are you kidding me Garnier?? I did some search online and it turns out there’s also people who suffer allergy after using this BB cream. Just that they didn’t mention in detail and there’s no picture on how the allergy is. So you can figure out how clueless and devastated I am to have a maroon face for a week. The worse I read is there’s even fluid coming out from the eyes. I’m lucky because I never apply base makeup to my eye area. For some reason I just don’t like to put foundation or BB cream to my eye lid or near my eyes. So thank goodness for that I don’t have things oozing out from my eyes. But I do have burning hot eyes and I hardly can open my eyes because my face is so swollen and stiff at the same time. A lot of people asked me why is both side of my face are more serious than my forehead. That’s because I don’t have much to cover on the forehead so I applied lesser base makeup. My face the the areas that I’d applied more to cover the marks etc. That explains why the redness are all on my face not my forehead. I was practically still the same on Sunday. At that point of time I think the meds and cream are not working. Same thing for Monday. My face are so stiff and painful that I couldn’t smile, laugh or even open my mouth to eat. And I have pimples popping out because my face are burning hot!

Day 3 – Monday

Skin Allergy3 On Tuesday there’s a sudden drastic changes with my skin. My face are still as red as before, itchy and painful. But it started to peel badly. I couldn’t do anything about the peeling because my skin are so sensitive even to touch. There’s no way I can scrub it off or use a toner to remove it because my current skin care sting and painful on my face. Due to the peeling the itch has come back. The so-called bee hive are patchy and getting worse. I lost all hope for recovery from that day after looking at the swelling face and bee hive. For some reason the area around my lips are getting more serious. It started to peel badly and it’s painful to even talk or smile just a bit. When I talk the skin around my lips especially my chin crack and it’s itchy and painful at the same time. Bad combination. And it got worse on Wednesday.

Day 5- Wednesday

Skin Allergy4 When the peeling became bad I started using Marula Oil. Thank goodness it doesn’t sting or painful on my skin. I didn’t warm up the oil like usual because my face couldn’t take it so I only apply in one swipe direction and piled the oil generously on my face at night and another time before I go to sleep. If previous I only need 2 drops for the whole face, this time I need 2 whole dropper amount. This oil gave me the necessary hydration needed as my face are so dry and because of this method the skin on my face are more hydrated especially the severe area around my lips. I even apply Marula Oil before I go to work to help to keep my skin hydrated. It works actually as I can talk, smile, laugh and eat! By Friday my skin started to get better thanks to Marula Oil healing properties. The peeling has lessen quite a bit too. I can see that the bee hive and the swell had tone down quite a lot. At that time I looked pink from near but looked tan from far.

Day 7 – Friday

Skin Allergy5 Here’s the close-up on the area around my mouth. It’s still red but recovering. I should have taken the picture of Tuesday and Wednesday when it’s at the most horrible state. Skin Allergy6 Basically I couldn’t apply any skin care and I was relying heavily on the doctor’s cream. When I ran out of the cream (it’s a very small pot) I got panic and demand to go back to the doctor for a bigger jar of cream. After I calm down I realize I should stop replying the doctor. Afterall how long can I do this. I was lucky to have a bottle of Marula Oil at home which act as a moisturizer and healing oil for my face. No toner, no eye cream no nothing else. On Friday I attended a mini event and I chatted a bit with the beauty trainer on my skin allergy. I told him I can’t put anything on and I didn’t know what to do and what to use because my skin now is so thin and sensitive but dry at the same time. He told me when he had skin allergy and sun burn previously he only can use Simple. Simple is very very mild and it’s meant for sensitive skin. Or he said I can opt for Cetaphil. I’ve heard about Cetaphil and I decided to buy it from Guardian after the event. He said it’s quite pricey but I think it’s around 50+ for the cleanser. So I went to Guardian to check out Cetaphil. I thought of getting the moisturizer too but it’s quite pricey so I walked over to Simple to look around. Gosh. The cleanser or moisturizer is not more than RM20! Then I saw a trial kit selling for RM20 and I bought the kit. So far so good and it suits my skin very well. Huge thank you to this wonderful person who intro me to Simple 🙂 For the past 1 week + this is what I used or take to treat my skin allergy.

Skin Allergy7 If you ask me if I regretted using the BB cream I’d say NO. If I didn’t use it I wouldn’t know it’s this crappy and causes such problem even to no problem skin like mine. And I’m glad I used it first before posting up a review otherwise those with sensitive skin might get the allergy too. I can always post up something on the BB cream but I’m not that type of a blogger. This is what I do as a beauty blogger and there’s no regret. I’d still continue to try new products even after this experience but this time I’m going to do a 24 hours patch test first. I left a Facebook message on Garnier wall asking for the brand person email address because there’s no “PM” function available and apparently they decided to ignore me. Stupid move. You must at least attend to my message and not ignoring when problem arise. So Garnier if you read this you better contact me. Ignoring what happen to me doesn’t solve the issue. Just because I’m being nice doesn’t mean you cant treat me like a piece of trash. If it’s not because I’m busy treating my face I’d have make a big fuss already. CONTACT ME! Now my face condition is stuck at what you see from Day 7. Slightly less red but uneven skin tone and my face is at least 2 tone darker. Seriously this product looks like ACID more than BB cream.


41 thoughts on “My First Severe Skin Allergy + A Bit of Rambling

  1. Babe, it was a very serious allergic reaction towards the BB cream. I am glad you are getting better now, and I hope that skin will heal and recover over time. Best thing to do is keep everything as simple as possible for the time being.

    1. Yeap it is quite serious. My friend said it affect me quite bad and I was in pain most of the time. The only thing that can put me to sleep is the meds otherwise I don’t think so I can sleep with all the pain on the face.

      Now I don’t apply the usual skin care. Just the Simple trial set that I bought and Marula Oil. These kept my skin hydrated. It’s funny how a drugstore BB cream can cause me such pain but drugstore skin care soothes my skin. So weird. Most of my skin care stash had to sell off cause I’m now more to sensitive & dry skin.

      1. That’s the main reason why I stay away from whitening products. Very hesitant and reluctant to use it. I know how acidic it can be. My skin is not the “whatever” type. Using the wrong product will give me breakouts. I might be insensitive here, but babe, no scars anymore. But I do hope the redness go away soon. Try not to stay under the sun for too long. Your skin will turn red faster than before.

        1. I didn’t look for whitening when I use BB cream. BB cream or foundation are just to cover my acne marks.

          It left a scars around my mouth till now. Maybe you can’t see it properly.

          1. I use BB cream to cover my scars. On the other hand, thank you for introducing the cleansing bar to me. Still using it, and will continue to do so. I am looking forward to the 28th day. I think maybe after some time when your redness is gone, you could go back to the cleansing bar.

  2. fiona dear!! so sorry to see that >_< so suffer and i see it really in SO SERIOUS condition. I hope you recover the soonest =( I have skin allergy once last time. that is after I tried on a sleeping mask that I bought from Beauty Store. I felt tingling right after i applied, so painful that after abt 10mins, I wash it off because really cant stand the pain.Then when I look into the mirror, it is terrible. Just like how ur skin looks like T__T not whole face but some parts. this happened 2 years ago. That time because I am still a noob/newbie in skincare/make up, so i dint do anything to my skin. bodoh me lol. I just let it to recover it self. My skin is ok already now. I think i understand ur feeling. it is such a helpless and sad thing right? You will recover. I will pray for you =)

    1. Yeah. Google also no related info. No idea what to do next. Talk to so many people also they have no idea. So terrible. Feel like the end of the world. Go out also need to look down on the floor.

  3. they shouldn’t have use lemon as an ingredient. read somewhere that it is a natural remedy but once u apply lemon juice, you are not suppose to be exposed to sunlight. worst ingredient ever for a bb cream!

    glad that u are ok now. 🙂

  4. Hey, so glad you are recovering from this allergy reaction! Can’t believe this product can cause such a severe skin allergy reaction. Thanks for writing this post, I am now much more aware what whitening ingredients can cause to the skin, not going to simply try whitening products.

    Do get better soon!

    1. Hi Janice, yeap. It’s important to look through the ingredient. Although most of the time I think the ingredient stared at me more than I stared at them LOL. Now I only look for Lemon, Citrus and Vitamin C. But since I’m allergic to Lemon…that’s my main target. In fact Garnier range contains Lemon. Found the same ingredient in one of their moisturizer.

  5. Hi Fiona, so sorry to hear bout your misfortune. I once had an allergy using FTE from SKII. My whole face was red and burning. I was panicking and didn’t know what to do. Then I saw my bottle of Avene thermal spring water. Immediately sprayed it on my face then took out their cotton mask, drenched it with the thermal spring water, put on my face and kept misting it whenever it looked like it was drying out. After 15mins, I had my normal face back. I guess I was lucky, but just saying, maybe you could try using Avene now, to soothe your face. I don’t work for them, not selling their products, but just some friendly tips from one beauty junkie to another =)

    1. Hi Helen,

      I did! In fact I used a whole new bottle and I was even in more pain. You see I was having peeling at the same time so new skin which is softer and thinner is emerging. The peeling process went the worse way because my face was super dry. When I talk it cracked, when I smile it cracked, when I eat it cracked.

      Avene Thermal Spring Water put me in lots of pain because of the crack skin. At first I thought it’s like that and kept on spraying. When the water vaporized (dries down) my face was more itchier than before. It doesn’t tone down the redness as well. Then I realize water does more harm. Which is why I turned to Marula Oil. It’s oil so it doesn’t vaporize and it kept my face hydrated besides the healing properties so I can move my facial muscle without any crack or pain. I think your face is not dry. Mine is. It’s so tense that my colleagues can see that my face is stretched.

      It’s really hard to explain my condition at that time to others cause even my friend never seen peeling happening to skin allergy. I think the lemon extract burnt my skin thus the change of skin. I do looked like someone who just had sun burn now.

  6. Hey babe. Sorry to hear about your severe skin allergy. Hope you’re better now and glad you found some interim products to ease the pain and itch…I had the same experience like you when I tried Vichy products a few years back. Yeah, what are the odds right? The company promotes that the product is dermatologist tested etc. Right after using the deluxe sample they provided me with my full range purchase, my skin was itchy, swollen and painful. When I contacted the company, they rejected my case outright, quoting that it is dermatologist tested and it was very unusual for any allergy cases. Back then, I bought over RM200 worth of full range of products and I had requested for a refund on grounds of allergy, nevermind the expensive dermatologist medical fees that I had spent, that I shall not claim from them lest they think I am a liar. However, they refused and offered me another range of Vichy products to try instead. I declined, said thank but no thanks. I would not want to go through the pain and harrowing experience looking like Justice Bao for weeks, like a beach trip gone wrong and my face was red like a lobster and swollen too. The emotional trauma was overwhelming. In the end, they made it severely difficult for me to obtain a refund – it tooks them 3-4 weeks to “examine” my products, asked how I store them etc and never got back to me, the chasing was entirely mine. The whole experience was distasteful. That was when I made up my mind to be careful of drugstore products.

    Thank you for your dedication and commitment as a beauty blogger. We, your readers, are very blessed and lucky to cross path with your honest reviews. Please take care and I wish you speedy recovery. Hugs.

    1. If I bought RM200 worth of full range of products from them I’d chase them too! Yes you are right about being careful with drugstore products. I did the same too. You should write to the paper. I think there’s a section in The Star for all this. I decide to write in to the newpapers if Garnier still ignores me which they are still.

      I don’t mind testing out new products on my face before reviewing. It’s better than lots of you went and buy it without knowing properly how it is. No regret on my side. Everyone kept saying why I do all these. They just don’t understand 🙂

      1. I’d always choose honest reviews rather than those advertorials (camouflaged as “honest reviews”) on blogs. Yes, many beauty bloggers think their “review” is a “honest review” when all they do is take some pics of the product, use it, and then tell readers “it is a good product”. I avoid those blogs like a plague. Babe, I love you and your blog 🙂

        It is likely the company would offer you another range of their products to you, Fiona. You could spend your precious time chasing them for refund, but it’s going to take a while. I agree with Jennifer on this matter. It’s good to take it to the press should they continued to ignore you. I hope they reply to you soon.

  7. Poor thing. I had skin allergy once (day before reunion dinner!!!) and it was no where as bad as yours yet till this day, I remember how itchy and uncomfortable it was. Speedy recovery!

    1. Awww that’s bad…before reunion dinner. I remember walking around with my heads down because my face is hot red. People are staring at me like I’m some kind of weirdo. Itchy is one thing. The pain is unbearable. I can feel every nerve pumping on my face. Fuhh!

  8. Hi, glad to see that your skin is getting better after your reaction, something I fully sympathise with. I had a very severe reaction to a garnier product – Garnier Body Tonic Firming Lotion. I had such a severe reaction that my doctor said it was the ‘worst reaction’ she had ever seen in her 30 years as a doctor. She prescribed me antibiotics and steroids (!!)
    I also looked like I had 3rd degree burns all over my body & it completely changed me. I believe the 2 products had the same element of the lemon in which is obviously very, very bad for skin!!

    1. Hi Natalie! After getting skin reaction twice from Garnier twice last year, I’m never near the brand or anything with lemon extract as one of the ingredient. The matter of fact, I’ve heard about skin reaction to Garnier Body Summer Moisturising Lotion Sun-Kissed Look from YouTuber Samantha Schuerman. There must be something in Garnier that gave us skin reaction. What my local Garnier headquarter told me that there hasn’t been any case of skin reaction recorded from using Garnier products. My guess is there is cases, maybe they didn’t thought of reporting to Garnier.

  9. hi,

    I came across your post in my search for skin allergic reactions and I was wondering how long yours lasted? like you, I used a product that my skin did not like and I’m suffering from awful dry skin, red, raw, irritated, stingy and just plain discomfort. the ONLY thing that I’ve been able to use is argan oil but my skin is so super dry that I have to keep applying it since my current moisturizer stings.

    so how long did your symptoms last?

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Wow. You had me there. This was a few years ago and I had to re-read my own post lol!! I had it for slightly more than one week. My advice is, go to see doctor and get the necessary medications. Your skin will be super dry with skin allergies. This is normal. Just slather lots of moisturizer. Argan oil is the best so you are doing right. I only have marula oil at home that time but it works just the same 😀

      Hope your symptoms goes away soon dear! I can totally understand the pain and suffering. It is not the best feeling in the world.

  10. Wow finally someone who described everything I’m going thro to perfection…this stuff sucks thank you for posting that…I was trying to post a pic if my face buy it’s not letting me…im sorry your going thro this but it’s nice to know own I’m not the only one

    1. Hi Noor, oh wow. I was told that no one ever had allergy attack using the product but so far there are quite a few who did.
      Mine lasted for more than a week. I would say go see doctor immediately. The meds do help.

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