How to Patch Test Your Skincare Products

What is patch testing?

Patch testing is a method of testing a new product to see if it will work positively or negatively for your skin. It is a method typically performed by doctors to help identify which substances may be causing a delayed-type allergic reaction and identify allergens not identified by blood testing or skin prick testing.

This method is mostly used as a quick and easy way to help determine whether a person has any skin sensitivities to products before applying or purchasing.

Patch testing products can help you determine whether a product may cause:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Irritation (Excessive dry skin, redness of the skin, or burning)
  • Clogged pores (Breakouts/acne)

Allergic Reactions

To test and see if you may have an allergic reaction, you can test on two different parts of your body:

  1. Behind the ear
  2. Inner arm

These are areas where your skin is the thinnest, which is why testing a product here for an allergic reaction will produce the quickest and most accurate results.

The amount used to patch test should be enough to show a reaction on your skin; about a pea-sized amount or smaller (I know the picture doesn’t reflect this tip. I couldn’t find a better stock photo, sorry!)

If you have an allergic reaction to a product, you will usually notice within a few minutes after application.

Note: Make sure to immediately wash the product off after noticing a reaction.


In order to see if you will have an irritation with a product, you can test where you are the most sensitive.

I like to patch test a small amount on my cheeks as it is the driest part of my face and reacts immediately to products.

When I first patch tested the Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb, my face started to burn and turn red immediately after application.

You will usually notice a skin irritation right away, but keep in mind that every person’s skin varies and it can sometimes take longer to notice a reaction.

Clogged Pores

To test for clogged pores, you can apply the product on areas in which you are more prone to breaking out. For me, it would be my chin and jawline area, whereas, for others, it can be their foreheads.

Note: It can take up to 24 hours from application before you begin to notice any break outs.

After patch testing for a while, you will slowly learn which ingredients will cause a negative reaction to your skin. Protip: For those with naturally oily skin, alcohols (ethanol or ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, and benzyl alcohol.) will not affect your skin as negatively as those with dry skin.

Credit to wikiHow for the stock photos because I can’t draw and a huge shout out to Jeff for giving me the motivation to push forward!

What are your experiences with patch testing? Do you have any tips and tricks to add? Comment below!

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