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The_Ink_Goddess
07-01-2017, 09:43 PM
Hey, guys! So this is a backstory for a character that my MC comes across during the plot. It's recounted in speech and therefore doesn't have to be extremely detailed, but Google has failed me. It's also YA contemporary, so it would help me if it was plausible, though it doesn't have to be "real", as I'd rather not borrow some other poor girl's facial injuries if possible.

Modern day. The 19-year-old girl (who is black, and very dark-skinned with it, if that affects the answer) goes to Amsterdam for the weekend, leaving her bedroom window accidentally open a crack. She believes that her antagonist sends someone to climb through the window and tamper with her...facial scrub? Face mask? Something like that? When 19-yo returns from Amsterdam, she uses the said product.

She has a severe allergic reaction and is left permanently - and preferably severely - facially scarred. She can't prove that the antagonist was behind it, as they left behind no evidence of a break-in, and at most, I want the shop to do a localised recall. It doesn't cause any more waves apart from that. The police highly doubt her insistence that foul play is at the root, and suspect it was more likely just an accident or 'one of those things'. I'd prefer it to be something SHE specifically is allergic to, because she has to be convinced that her enemy is specifically trying to target HER, but they don't want her dead, they just want to injure/scare her (which works).

I can move a lot on details but I was wondering if anyone could suggest something that would cause that kind of allergic reaction if placed in a "facial product", is specific to her (rather than dangerous to humans as a whole), and so would not alert signs of foul play, please. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cyia
07-01-2017, 10:00 PM
A natural scrub mixed with honey or peanut butter would give a major allergic reaction, but not the scaring.

Scars are going to take an infection or a chemical reaction. Something like lye or a dry salt that would react with water, sweat and/or body heat. You could maybe have the scrub replaced with something like honey and an abrasive cleaner, if you can find cleaning crystals that wouldn't break down in the suspension.

Anna Iguana
07-01-2017, 10:49 PM
I had the same reaction as Cyia--you'll need an infection, not just an allergy, to cause scarring. Unfortunately, that's not hard. An allergy to metals or benzoyl peroxide can cause crazy itching and a hot, red rash; and, if a rash is scratched (in sleep, for example), introducing bacteria to inflamed tissue, a staph infection can spread dangerously fast across skin (in minutes/hours).

MaeZe
07-01-2017, 11:56 PM
Some people with very severe contact dermatitis will get a rash with vesicles that can result in scarring.

Did you already look into Skin Reactions to Beauty Products (http://www.webmd.com/allergies/cosmetics#1)?

I'm unclear what specifically your question is.

chompers
07-02-2017, 12:20 AM
Maybe this is a product that she's had for a long, long time and didn't use for a long time and didn't know facial products expire? That can be the root of the infection and stuff.

Cyia
07-02-2017, 01:54 AM
Maybe research some DIY methods of making itching powder. There's apparently one you can make from rose hips, so if she's got an allergy to roses, that might up the irritant effect.

Unimportant
07-02-2017, 02:03 AM
Blacks have a much higher (about 15X?) tendency to form keloids than Caucasians do, so anything that causes a wound in your character could, believably, result in keloid scarring.

As the above posters have noted, allergic reactions are unlikely to wound and scar. A strong acid or alkali added to her face cream or whatever could easily cause a burn that would scar; adding the active ingredient in poison ivy could result in a dermatitis with itching and, with sufficient scratching, eventual scarring. However, neither would be specific to the character.

MaeZe
07-02-2017, 02:23 AM
Blacks have a much higher (about 15X?) tendency to form keloids than Caucasians do, so anything that causes a wound in your character could, believably, result in keloid scarring.That is a good point.


As the above posters have noted, allergic reactions are unlikely to wound and scar. ...But it does happen and you may not need an infection to cause it though an infection is a logical means of explaining excessive scarring.

I've seen some incredibly horrendous allergic reactions in the hospital.

The_Ink_Goddess
07-14-2017, 02:04 AM
Thank you so much, guys!

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-22-2017, 11:16 PM
"Black salve" ... the active ingredient is the sap from "bloodroot". it's highly irritating, causes scars and is generally nasty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanguinaria

Or an extract of "giant hogweed", which is very irritating.

Neither one would show up unless they were specifically looking for it.