Sensitive skin can be overwhelming. I’ve always had issues with mine, and it has become even more unpredictable with age. This has resulted in an unfortunate, long list of products and solutions that don’t work for me, but, thankfully, also a short list of those that do. When it comes to treating sensitive skin you have to be, well, sensitive. Because the last thing you want to do is aggravate it any further. That’s why understanding triggers and tailoring your beauty routine based off of those is so important. Read on for more clarity (no pun intended) and twelve ways to show your sensitive skin some TLC.
What is sensitive skin?
Start by making sure that what you’re dealing with is actually sensitive skin. It can often be confused with dehydrated or dry skin, which is only temporary and should be treated differently. Sensitive skin isn’t always easy to diagnose, but it commonly shows up through a range of symptoms that are ongoing including redness, blotchiness, dryness, itchiness and quick reactions and rashes from “normal” products and environmental changes.
What causes sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin can be caused by a number of different factors that irritate and inflame the nerve endings on the top barrier of skin. It could be anything from genetics, seasonal weather, too much sun, over-exfoliation, poor diet, stress or lack of sleep that’s causing yours. Getting to the root of the problem is the best way to begin treatment and prevention!
How can I manage sensitive skin?
Keep your skin hydrated: Skin that is more sensitive loses moisture easily, so it’s essential to replenish it often. Drink your daily-recommended H2O and
use a hydrating cream daily, once in the morning and once at night. And Lock the moisture in with a beauty oil! You can layer the oil on top of the moisturizer or mix it in. I love our Camellia Oil because it absorbs quickly into the skin and it leaves my skin glowing and feeling soft and hydrated.
Apply sunscreen every day: On the same note, hypersensitive skin is also more susceptible to sun damage. Always apply sunscreen before heading outdoors, even on dark and gloomy days, and reapply often when necessary (like when hitting the beach, for example). This will help to reduce flare-ups, while simultaneously lowering your risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Chemical-laden ones can cause stinging and rashes, so look for gentle formulas that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Opt for natural ingredients: As with other beauty products, when it comes to your skincare lineup, natural, organic and plant-based is always best when possible. These are typically clean, soothing and full of antioxidants, which can help to decrease inflammation, boost repair and promote a youthful glow. Look for superstars such as pomegranate and avocado oil.
Test out products first: Skin testing is always important when it comes to trying out new products, but it’s especially crucial if you have sensitive skin. It’s a quick and simple task that can save you the risk of a nasty outbreak and can also help you to identify specific ingredients you don’t respond well to (start a list). The inside of your arm is a great place to do this, as it’s a delicate area but can easily be hidden if you do have a reaction. Also, only introduce one new product at a time. Give it few weeks to see how your skin reacts to it before introducing another new product.
Skip the scented stuff: Those of us in the sensitive skin club probably already know that synthetic fragrances can be our worst enemy. There are a ton of natural products and perfumes offered these days, which claim to contain less allergens, but always read the label first. In general though, fragrance-free is typically the way to go.
Don't over-cleanse the skin: While washing your face as often and deep as possible may seem like the right solution, it’s not. In fact, over-cleansing can be just as troublesome as not washing your face, and it can leave your pores feeling tight, dry and inflamed. Use warm water only in the morning and an oil-based cleanser that is suitable for your skin at night. Our Facial Oil Cleanser gently removes dirt and makeup and is made from soothing oils that help to restore moisture and keep irritation at bay.
Avoid abrasive exfoliants: Don’t exfoliate with anything that has beads in it. This can backfire big time, as they can strip natural oils (that we need), create tiny tears and inflame the skin. Instead, opt for something less abrasive to use once a week. Our Konjac Sponge paired with a cleanser is a great option, for example. You’ll probably have to do some experimenting to see what level of exfoliating your skin can handle. Instead of sticking to a strict schedule, leave it up to your face. It knows best!
Don’t overtreat your skin: As we’ve already discussed, it’s important to keep skin hydrated and nourished. However, it is possible to over-do it. So while it may be tempting to pile on as many promising products as possible, be cautious as not to overwhelm your skin. Remember that less is more. Invest in a handful of quality products and try to keep ingredient lists as simple (and easy to read) as possible. A cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen and antioxidant serum should be plenty. An aloe or Rosewater Mist may also be good to have on hand to balance the skin’s PH for when flare-ups do occur.
Sleep on silk: Did you know that your skin rejuvenates itself while you sleep (hence the name beauty sleep)? That’s why you should always wash your face before hitting the sack, and, if possible, switch to a silk pillowcase. Silk pillowcases are more breathable and gentler on the skin compared to synthetic fibers, and have been known to prevent breakouts and wrinkles. Either way, remember to clean and change your sheets often!
Avoid excessively hot water: Hot water removes the natural oils in our skin that keeps it soft and hydrated. While it may be tempting and feel oh-so-good when it’s chilly outside, try not to crank the shower dial over too far. This is especially important when it comes to washing your face.
Check what you eat: What you put in your body is just as meaningful as what you put on it. Healthy eating can help to flush toxins, provide lots of complexion-loving antioxidants and keep you hydrated. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and of course drink lots of water. Avoid foods that cause inflammation and include ones that contain probiotics to keep your gut health in check (or take a probiotic supplement). A weekly journal or log is also a good idea, as some foods may be increasing the sensitivity of your skin.
See the dermatologist: If you’ve exhausted all attempts to get your sensitive skin under control on your own, it may be time to consider seeing a dermatologist. You could have a specific skincare condition that requires topical treatments and he or she may be able to provide more specific instructions and/or products.
What are your solutions for sensitive skin? Please share them in the comments!