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White film on face after using cosmetics, puffy face. Have dermatitis hyperpigmentation. Advice?

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1391 Questions
Hi Doctor, I have chronic sensitive skin. If I wash my face with soap or cleansers about 10 mins later a white film forms on my skin. The same thing with moisturizers(even oil free) creams, lotions or oils along with a puffy face. No matter if they're transparent in color. I also get dermatitis hyper pigmentation, if I do not find a way to remove the residue from my skin within an hour or so. I have used a wash cloth in the past, which limited the amount of residue left on my skin but the side effect was raw torn up skin. I've seen 2 derma's with no solution. I have tried using just water(for a week) and my skin looked dirty, darker and oily(I have very oily skin, but I think using a wash cloth might be contributing to that). I really don't know how to clean my face. Can you please advise.

P.S I read somewhere these are symptoms of contact "cosmetic dermatitis XXXXXXX Also, my skin tone is dark.
Posted Fri, 28 Sep 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 1 hour later
Hi Dear,

Thanks for writing in.

I read from your query that you have sensitive skin.

People with sensitive skin get exaggerated reaction on any of cosmetic or cleanser products.

According to me you should use CETAPHIL oily skin cleanser.It is the best we have .
It is time tested and dermatologically approved .

None of my patient has problems with it.

Skin Brightening Day Time Cream by Nefeli is a mineral- and herb-enriched cream that helps brighten your face by lightening age spots and blotchiness. It also calms irritated skin and evens the skin tone.

Also I would like to know whether you have undergone any cosmetic procedures?

Is your skin like this from beginning?

Can you upload photos of your face?

Answer the above questions to help you better.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: White film on face after using cosmetics, puffy face. Have dermatitis hyperpigmentation. Advice? 4 hours later
Hi DrSudarshan,

thank you for following up. I have use CETAPHIL, in fact it is one of the worse for me, It endues really bad Dermatitis hyper pigmentation. Like i said it seems to be the residue that irritates my skin, dove is pretty bad too. I have had this problem as long as I can remember, I have always use a wash cloth to scrub my skin ,even when i was a young man. I realize that if i wash my face without it, my skin would get darker in certain areas. So, I have always used a wash cloth. I should add I am severely allergic to sun block/screen. I have also been patch tested on my back (only titanium dioxide caused minimal reaction) , my back peeled for several months. In fact after forgetting about the test I thought I had some sort of infection and went to my GP who scraped of samples (i was actually relieved when test found no medical problems).
Yes, I've had laser surgery recommended by my Derma to remove the top layer, getting rid of the damaged skin case by the wash cloth scrubbing and hopefully solve this skin problem for good. It was the worst thing that happened to my skin. I had second degree burns to my forehead and upper sides side of my face which after firing the technician, they tried to fix it with a series of Skinmedica Vitalize peels with brought it down a bit, but it is still visible 6 years later. Using a wash cloth helped a lot, but like i said it's a catch 22( clearing skin but damaged skin texture). Last year I used a moisturizer, "Vaseline clinical therapy XXXXXXX that case really bad hyper pigmentation. So I panic and went to a two different place to get peels to quickly bring down the pigmentation but I end up making things worse. So this year I decided I was going to find a solution, so I could move on with my life. The number one rule was not to scrub my face, not matter how bad it gets and not to use anything that can alter or cause permanent damage. I am not worried about the pigmentation because it come and goes and in this situation as you know as a Dr that is the easiest problem to fix. Away, as expected the most sensitive patches became pigmented. I tried all types of soaps and cleansers even moisturizers. I'm lucky I still have a face, but no luck. It's not so much the chemicals but it's what left on my skin that irritates it. Serums are the absolute worst, they breach the skin barrier and seem to cause almost instant hyper pigmentation.

As for skin lighting I'm not interested. I know how to clear my skin i just don't want the side effect. If I used the product you are suggesting it would not change the underlying problem. I have used hydroquinone in the past and I can only tolerate it for 10 mins and believe it or not it dose lighten the pigmentation but I must scrub it off or the area will start to turn dark by the end of the day.

I know this seems odd to you, but as a DR you have plenty of libraries of oddities.

Now, little background. I have a analytic, problem solving, highly competitive personality and I quick find solution for what problem I am faced with. But this one is the longest and toughest I've face. I would say I have become obsessed with it, like most people who have rare problems. I hope that give you some insight.

P.S this is the closest information I've found

Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 3 hours later
Hi dear,

Thanks for the details.

It is hard to believe you are allergic to cetaphil.

Have you used philosophy Purity made simple cleanser?

It is one of the best and used by millions.

If you are allergic to so many products it is always better to wash your face with simple lukewarm water.

Avoid any cosmetics.

Maintain photoprotection with umbrellas,caps ,hats, using cotton cloth to cover your face completely.

Hope this helps.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: White film on face after using cosmetics, puffy face. Have dermatitis hyperpigmentation. Advice? 1 hour later
I don't understand why it would be hard for you since you are a doctor. I have provide you links to thousands of others who have the same or similar problems. I am not sure what covering up has to do with a cosmetic products problem, i wonder what people did before sun block?... Everyone uses cosmetics both men and women if fact the latest thing for men is concealer (everyone in my area uses it along with make-up brushes and all) mattifiers and skin bleaching, just like real ladies( shave lines not longer exist). Unfortunately i have problem with anything that seems covering my pores, which i wouldn't care to use anything, but I have very oily skin and water alone is not going to clean it. I thought you were an experience Dr but maybe most of your client have just common skin problem.. Millions can eat peanut butter, but thousands are allergic to peanuts and can die from it. Should we just say they are exaggerating or too sensitive?

At a 100+ clients a day I thought you might have some insight...


Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 8 hours later
Hi dear,

I can understand the your agony .

I dont say I dont believe you . I just say that you one of a rare case.

The links you have provided are a different entity altogether.

It describes pigmented contact dermatitis.It is a type of allergic contact dermatitis and its treatment .It can usually be detected by patch testing . Where patient is found allergic to one specific ingredient of cosmetic.When this ingredient is avoided patient is usually symptom free.

As you have said you have been patch tested but were not allergic to any of the ingredient (except titanium dioxide) you do not belong to this type.

Now There is a possibility that whatever patch test series was used did not contain the allergen causing the problem. So the patch test may have to be repeated using different series containing more allergens. Usually patients are not allergic to all of the ingredients but only 1 or few.So more extensive patch testing may be neede.

Also you havnt uploaded photos and not answered questions asked in my first reply.

Atopic dermatitis is on condition where patient is allergic to so many products , chemicals and cosmetics.They have skin problems since childhood.Have allergic rhinitis and asthma. Also usually have positive family history.
Do you have any of these?

Have you tried philosophy Purity made simple cleanser?

Have you ever tried using home remedies for cleansing?
They include unboiled milk , diluted lemon juice,tomato , cucumber, cleansing milk,
oat XXXXXXX or wheat husk or gram flour. They are all organic and herbal and are safe.
Worth giving a try.

Finally what I can say is detailed and close physical examination , skin biopsy, extensive patch test, blood work up for absolute eosinophil count , IgE levels in serum may be needed.

Photoprotection /sunprotection are the foundation of any skin related treatments.
It is a must. Either use of sunscreen or physical protection in your case.

We do see patients like you in day to day practice but a physical examination and investigations are needed to diagnose and treat their queries.
usually one or the other products suits them. Its just matter of time and keep trying the products.

Dont give up.
Wishing you good luck.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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