Fastest Treatment for Chemical Burn on Face?

I used a microdermabrasion product last night, and then later, a facial depilatory cream. When I went to sleep, my face was fine. I woke up with redness and blotches. It doesn't hurt at all; it just feels warm. I tried putting calming moisturizer and it stung a little, so I've just been using very cold washcloths instead.

I'll be in a wedding tomorrow. How can I reduce the redness quickly without making things worse? Aloe? Vaseline? Hydrocortisone cream? Neosporin?

Is it safe to wear makeup over the burn?

Doctor Answers 3

The Fastest Treatment for Chemical Burns on the Face

One of the biggest problems we see as dermatologists are people trying to do much, too soon, and too close to big social events. This seems to be the case here and is a good teaching lesson for everyone. You know you have an important social event coming up and we know, as well as you do, that you want to look the best you can. And from reading what you did, you were trying all great things to do that.

First, anytime you are embarking on something like this, it is best to be under the care of a skin care specialist. Board-certified dermatologists are trained in how to make you look the best in the most non-invasive and simplest way. We would have told you to do what you were doing several weeks earlier and to space the treatments apart, not the next day. We could have done all of these things in the office setting, with professional staff around to assist, and to recommend the proper skin care products to have hopefully avoided what happened to you this time.

Nonetheless, you need help now. If you can get into a dermatologists office, we would probably do what we sometimes call a quick fix – a steroid shot which would get rid of the inflammation in the fastest time possible. We would also prescribe for you a stronger cortisone cream than what you can buy over the counter — and have you use it for several days to get things back to normal faster. And we would have you use the proper moisturizers to keep everything looking your best. We would also tell you to avoid Neosporin, as some are sensitive to the product and we don’t want to compound the problem any further.

As far as makeup is concerned, mineral based make-ups will work fine here, and should not cause you any further problems.

Good luck, and let your dermatologist take care of you and get you ready for this wedding.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

You may have redness from both irritation and the microdermabrasion effect

Thanks for your question.

It sounds like you might have just done a little too much too close to the wedding. But, don't worry, you can do a couple things to help make it appear a little better. First, the microdermabrasion caused redness through both irritation and the micropeeling effect. Second, the depilatory cream may have added to this irritation. Your goal at this point should be to provide a very moisturizing environment to the area, and to use an agent to calm down the inflammation as much as possible.

So, I would recommend the following. Get some aquaphor and use it continuously throughout the day today. In addition, get hydrocortisone 1% ointment over the counter and apply it 4 times today - but only today. If you can get a prescription, you can do Aclovate or Desonide twice a day today, but in absence of getting in contact with your dermatologist, do the hydrocortisone.

I understand that ointments are greasy and shiny, but today is your one day to make as much progress as possible. The ointment will provide a natural healing base, and ointments are nearly always stronger than creams. To answer your final question, you can wear make up tomorrow, but in the long run after the wedding, it may lead to some acne as it may clog up your pores that were affected by the microdermabrasion. My advice is to use Clinique, but you can use any other type of non-comedogenic makeup. Stay away from MAC!

Have fun at the wedding tomorrow and good luck!

Don Mehrabi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Microdermabrasion and Product Irritation

This is a common side effect that can occur when multiple new treatments or products are introduced to the skin in a short time frame. It can take time for your skin to adjust to a new product and your skin can be slightly more sensitive following an exfoliation treatment or product. It is most likely that the two treatments in conjunction caused your skin to become irritated and inflamed. To improve the appearance of your skin before the wedding hydrate and protect your skin with aquaphor for the remainder of the day and utilize 1% hydrocortisone cream to help decrease inflammation.

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.