You Ask, We Answer: Why Is My Skin Stinging?

? This girl is on fire ? - but her skin should not be.

Stinging, burning, inflamed.

These are uncomfortable sensations we might have experienced more than once, especially when we have sensitive skin.

While a little tingle that lasts a few seconds is nothing to worry about, when it becomes a sharp sting that’s almost unbearable, it’s a sign something’s wrong.

Skincare should not be painful, and no, the stinging should not be embraced as a sign the product is working.

So, why is your skin stinging when applying a product? Here are some possible reasons:

#1 You Are Exfoliating Way Too Much.

While exfoliation can be a great addition to your skincare routine, helping reveal brighter skin and reduce clogged pores, too much of it can lead to a damaged skin barrier.

Your skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin, and plays the very important role of defending you from environmental threats such as bacteria and UV rays. When this protective barrier is compromised, your skin can become raw and sensitive, giving you that stinging sensation you wouldn’t otherwise feel.

How to Fix It: Stop exfoliating with harsh scrubs that can cause micro-tears in your skin and avoid exfoliating too frequently, especially if you're new to skincare and your skin hasn't yet acclimated to it. Instead, opt for a gentle chemical peel, such as with the Balancing Cleanser, once a week. Every morning and night, apply the Protective Moisturizer, which has been specially formulated with peptides and antioxidants to repair and re-strengthen your skin barrier.

#2 You Have Dry and Dehydrated Skin.

Dry and dehydrated skin is also a sign of a weakened skin barrier because the barrier is what keeps your skin from losing much-needed moisture. If your skin feels dry or is peeling, or even cracking, you might feel stinging when applying products.

How to Fix It: The key is to return and retain the moisture in your skin. Use a gentle cleanser such as So Fresh, which won’t over-strip skin of its natural oils, and follow with the nourishing Protective Moisturizer. For extra hydration, layer on the Matte Hydrator before applying the Protective Moisturizer.

#3 You’re Having a Reaction to an Allergen or Irritant.

When your skin stings after applying a product, it most likely means your skin does not agree with one or some of the ingredients in it. Possible allergens and irritants include fragrances, dyes, and fruits such as lemon and grapefruit.

Everyone’s skin is unique, so what is perfectly safe for others might not be for you. If you’re constantly experiencing irritation from different products, it’s best to check for any common ingredients that could be the culprits.

How to Fix It: Immediately wash the product off your face and gently pat dry. Then, try and identify what it is that could be causing the negative reaction so you can remove it from your routine moving forward. Always check the ingredients list for potential offenders before purchasing new products and always do a patch test before applying them to your entire face – just to be extra safe!

To patch test, apply the new product on the skin right behind your ear or on the inside of your wrist. These areas are best because they more closely mimic the skin on our face, which is thinner and more sensitive. If you do not see or feel any signs of a negative reaction after a day, you can try applying the product on your face.

#4 You’ve Just Started Using Clear Out.

Our top acne-fighting lotion, Clear Out, uses medical-grade retinol to promote the shedding of dead skin cells and flush out clogged pores.

How to Fix It: Slowly introduce skin to retinol by applying Clear Out on alternate evenings. The stinging sensation should not last more than a few seconds. Once skin has adjusted and the stinging is gone, you can safely apply Clear Out every evening.

Not sure if the stinging you’re experiencing is normal?

Send any questions you have our way via Messenger chat or Instagram DM (@clearlybasics). However, if stinging persists for more than a few minutes or becomes too much to handle, check in with your dermatologist as soon as you can!

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

So, long time sufferer of acne. Started when I was 12 and I'm 28 now still battling it. I've tried all kinds of different things to try and get it under control and besides birth control, nothing has helped long term. I never want to take birth control ever again and I just happened upon this brand and decided well, why not try? To my amazement, it has helped more than anything else I've tried, I'd say it has improved my skin to the level it was at when I took BC. Of course I still get pimples every now and then, and tiny flare ups during PMS but my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I highly recommend this company. To those who are considering trying this out, be aware that during the first week or so your skin will go through a purge and your acne will appear to get worse at first. Stick with it! Once that phase is over is when your skin will begin improving. I do need to use it every night for it to be fully effective, but even when I do forget, the pimples don't get too out of control. I just can't say enough good things about this product. It has helped my confidence improve immensely and I definitely recommend trying it to those who have skin as finicky as mine.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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