I’m a 28-year-old woman from Egypt suffering for several years from an intolerance of my skin to majority of make-up products. Please help.

My first diagnostic impression is that you are suffering from sensitive skin syndrome. The major clinical diagnostic indicators of a sensitive skin are mostly based on the degree and frequency of intolerant behaviour of the sufferer’s skin. This intolerant behaviour of the skin is mainly due to irritant reactions to a wide range of ingredients of different skincare products.

A large number of environmental factors also contribute towards the complexity of diagnosis and management of the condition. Clinical studies suggest that about 25-30 per cent of such reactions can be allergic in nature, manifesting themselves in form of allergic contact dermatitis. The irony is that both types of reactions, that is, irritant and allergic, have quite similar clinical presentations, making conclusive diagnosis quite difficult.

I suggest you consult an experienced dermatologist. You will definitely need an Extended Skin Allergy Patch Testing to rule out allergic contact dermatitis to any of the ingredients in your cosmetics, toiletries, perfumery or other skin care products. Positive detection of allergens through skin patch test will need a total elimination of these chemical from your skin care products. Here it is important to say that it is commonly observed that majority of the positively diagnosed patients only partially eliminate these allergens/chemicals and therefore continue suffering from skin problems.

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Changing product brands won’t make any big positive difference to alleviate your skin complaints, because most of the products made under different brands have a very similar chemical composition. At the same time, the products marketed under hypoallergenic or dermatologically tested labels are also quite misleading, as sufferers continue to get their skin complaints even while using these products.

My advice is to give a break in the use of heavy make-up and using too much of so-called routine skincare products. This offers breathing time for skin to regain its lost integrity and allow it to behave normally.

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is a Dubai-based dermatologist. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.