The term “sensitive skin” is deceiving because people often misdiagnose other conditions such as allergies, eczema, dermatitis, or rosacea for sensitivity.
Ninety percent of my clients coming in for facials identify their skin as sensitive, however less than half of them are correct.
If you have symptoms such as hot, red skin; itchy skin; red bumps caused by touch, or very flaky skin, you should see a doctor to rule out any particular condition that may need medical attention.
If you test negative for the usual suspects, then what you want to address most with sensitive skin is the inflammation and redness that comes with it. We tend to get so self-conscious with our looks that we bombard our skin with anything we can in attempts to conceal the condition. However, with sensitive skin you need to use one remedy at a time and document the reactions if possible. When you overdo it with products, sensitive skin will become overwhelmed.
I recommend starting a fresh skincare routine to see if you can identify particular “culprits” and to see which products are working for you without causing any reactions. Begin with water, a basic non-irritating cleanser like Jurlique’s Replenishing Foaming Cleanser and a bland moisturizer that does not contain any fragrance or essential oils.
Also, avoid perfume and switch your detergent to a fragrance free, natural version for a solid month (at least 30 days). Once your skin is in a less reactive state, you can begin to reintroduce some of your other products to see how your skin tolerates them. This will give you a great base to build your new regimen!
10 tips for the sensitive in nature:
- People with sensitive skin MUST STAY AWAY from microdermabrasion, intense facial massage/manipulation, perfumed skin care products, essential oils, sun bathing and swimming pools. Keep your skin care routine SIMPLE: wash with a mild cleanser (no acids or exfoliating beads). Treat redness with a skin-type specific product. I love Bare Minerals Redness Remedy which is packed with skin soothing goodies like flower extracts, aloe and oat which will reduce inflammation and redness. Protect your skin with a light moisturizer. Wear a quality mineral-based makeup, which will assist in protecting your skin.
- Sunscreen is essential! The sun is sensitive skin’s worst enemy. The best form of protection is to physically block the sun from hitting skin. Use a sunscreen with physical sun blockers such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, instead of irritating chemicals. Wear long sleeves, sunglasses and hats. Do your best to avoid the sun during its peak hours from 11 AM- 2PM.
- Use products that are in pumps or tubes vs. jars. Products packaged in pumps and tubes provide better protection from bacteria.
- Purchase a few extra 100% cotton pillowcases and change every other day. Also, try to sleep on your back, without putting any pressure on your face. Don’t forget to wash your pillowcases with fragrance free detergent.
- Do not touch your face. Some people (you know who you are!) tend to sit resting their face in their hands and have nervous habits of picking or pulling at their skin. If you need some extra help with that read our our article “Stop Touching Your Face!”
- When washing your skin do not use hot water. Use lukewarm water.
- When drying your skin, do not rub the skin. Instead pat it dry gently.
- Taking a flax seed oil supplement is extremely beneficial as well. You can also eat healthy fats like nuts and avocado to help build the lipid barrier in your skin.
- Love your skin, and smile when you look at yourself in the mirror – after all, your skin is sensitive!