How to calm sensitive skin
Sensitive skin can be tricky to navigate, mainly because you know what might happen when you use products it doesn’t like, and you don’t want to risk the redness, soreness, itching and flare-ups that may result. When sensitive skin is a permanent issue for you, it can be exhausting to decipher a daily skincare routine, and, as a result, you may feel reluctant to put anything on your skin at all.
Here we dispel the myths and reveal everything that you need to know about navigating sensitive skin – from working out whether you have it, to the ingredients to utilise and the products to trust.
Why is your skin so sensitive?
Your skin’s sensitivity could be down to genetics, your lifestyle, your stress levels, or a compromised skin barrier. Sensitive skin is a term usually used to describe how your skin feels rather than a medical diagnosis. Symptoms such as burning, tingling, stinging, redness, dryness, and peeling can all be associated with skin sensitivity.
Sensitive skin is usually caused by genetics and occurs consistently. It’s often linked to an underlying medical cause such as irritant or allergic contact dermatitis. Those with eczema, acne, rosacea or other inflammatory skin conditions are also prone to sensitivity.
If your skin becomes sensitive seemingly out of the blue, this is usually the result of product application. Overuse of active ingredients (exfoliants) is a rising cause of sensitive skin, and products containing alcohol-based gels, soaps and perfumed formulas can also be damaging. Certain environmental factors can also increase sensitivity, including UV exposure and fluctuations in temperatures.
How to strengthen the skin barrier
Two things that will help strengthen your skin barrier are loading it up with moisture in the form of a hyaluronic acid serum, and then reinforcing the lipid layer with moisturisers containing ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids. Hyaluronic acid helps to attract and retain moisture in the outer layers of the skin, and the lipids will seal this into place. This forms a cement between epidermal skin cells similar to a bricks (cells) and mortar (epidermal lipids) like structure to form a resilient physical barrier.
What is the best skincare for sensitive skin?
Keep it simple
The best thing that you can do for your sensitive skin is to keep things simple. If your skin barrier is compromised, strip your skincare routine right back to a gentle cream or gel-based cleanser, morning and night, to start with. Look for cleansers formulated for dry and sensitive skin like the SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser, which contains a selection of gentle but effective ingredients, such as soothing orange oil and glycerin that soothe and calm sensitive areas. Only add in other products once your skin feels balanced and ready.
Change your acid
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid may be too intense for some sensitive skins. But having reaction-prone skin doesn’t mean that you have to avoid chemical exfoliation altogether. Swap out your AHAs for a product containing a high-strength Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA), like the Neostrata Bionic Lotion, which is formulated to gently exfoliate, smoothing rough, dry skin whilst providing restorative antioxidants to help protect against environmental factors.
PHAs are a much gentler exfoliant, making them an excellent option for sensitive skin types.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
As previously mentioned, hydration is crucial for sensitive skin – but it’s equally important to find the right formula. The SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier is a multi-benefit corrective serum proven to amplify skin’s hyaluronic acid levels by 30%. The Triple Lipid Restore 2:1:2 is a unique lipid correction cream that contains the first 2:4:2 cholesterol-dominant ratio to help restore the skin’s external barrier and support natural self-repair whilst potently nourishing ageing skin for improvement in the visible appearance of skin smoothness, laxity, pores, and overall radiance. Whether used together or apart, they will work to strengthen the delicate skin barrier whilst boosting moisture levels, minimising inflammation and deeply hydrating the skin.
Boost your barrier
Another way to boost your barrier is via a soothing, anti-redness, probiotic-based serum such as the Meder Beauty Science Red-Apax Concentrate.
Packed with prebiotics, probiotics, innovative Northern truffle extract and yacon extract, Red-Apax fights redness and eases rosacea symptoms, maintaining skin comfort and controlling flare-ups for a long term feeling of calm, moisturised, healthy skin.
Always wear SPF
Using good quality sunscreen every day is essential no matter your skin type or concern. Opt for a mineral-based sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to shield skin and prevent further inflammation.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.