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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Sustainable Prospects – The Perils of Self-Experimentation

During the experiment shoots, I have applied various substances to my face. I decided that I should do these experiments myself as I have concerns over the ethics of applying these substances to other peoples’ faces in case of an allergic reaction.

As someone with sensitive skin and who suffers from Allergic Contact Dermatitis, I was well aware of the possibility of a reaction to the substances. My aim was to minimise the reactions by conducting shoots 19-20 on the same day, and then 2 weeks later shoots 25-31 together. After each set of experiments, I suffered an allergic reaction.

I suffered from red, blotchy skin that was very hot, almost burning to touch. The skin felt tight and stiff and was quite itchy. After being exposed to these substances, my body suffered an inflammatory response.

In order to treat the inflammation and reaction, I applied cold water and kept my face as cool as possible.  I also applied vaseline which soothed the skin. This treatment was effective and the inflammation was virtually gone.

The image below was taken straight after the shoot (with vaseline on my face to soothe it).


Below are images were taken 8 hours after the shoot, still inflammed and sore.

These images show how our hard it is to wear a mask every day and how hard it is to take it off. Our masks become almost embedded in our skin, removing part of us when the mask is taken off. Once the mask is removed, we are raw underneath. This allergic reaction really emphasises this rawness.

This reaction has convinced me that I was right not to apply the substances to the faces of other people. I would have felt terribly guilty if this had happened to anyone else.

For the future, I do have further experiments planned which could cause me an issue. So to try and prevent this, my intention is to source material that is hypoallergenic. Hopefully, this will prevent a reoccurrence of the issue.

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