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So many people deal with sensitive skin and it can get so frustrating finding the right products that don’t make your skin lash out but just remember: it is possible to live without the irritation and redness! And it can be great once you find the right products for your skin! So I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about it.
Before we get started though, I do want to remind you that everyone’s skin is different so what may work for me may not work for you. Everything I suggest in this post should be considered regarding your own skin.
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What Makes Your Skin Sensitive?
If you have sensitive skin, your skin is basically very picky about what you put on it and probably what’s in its environment too.
Here are some signs that may occur if you have sensitive skin:
- You have a general redness and/or itchiness that flares up sometimes.
- Your skin doesn’t enjoy extremely hot or cold temperatures.
- Your skin hates when you shave it and will react if you’re not super careful.
- Your skin reacts to certain fabrics.
- You find it difficult to try new products because there’s always a chance that your skin will hate you for it.
Skin Care Ingredients for Sensitive Skin
What to Avoid
- Fragrance is a major irritant for sensitive skin.
- Essential oils may also irritate because they’re so strong so only use them if your skin can handle it.
- Sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate.
- Bar soap is too basic for your slightly acidic skin barrier.
- Linalool and limonene which are common types of fragrances.
- Physical scrubs are harsh and irritating because their small particles have an irregular shape that can tear skin.
What to Look For
- Minimal ingredients are preferred so try and make sure any product you use doesn’t have a lot going on inside.
- Colloidal oatmeal is great for sensitive skin especially if you also deal with eczema. I have slightly sensitive skin and eczema, and colloidal oatmeal feels very soothing and relieves itchiness.
- Aloe vera is very soothing for the skin so it definitely helps with sensitivity.
- Glycerin hydrates very well so if you suffer from dryness, look for products with glycerin.
- Tea extracts like white tea and green tea are amazing because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Bisabolol also has anti-inflammatory properties and is very soothing.
Cleansing Sensitive Skin
Your goal here is to find a cleanser with minimal ingredients.
The fewer ingredients there are in a cleanser, the fewer ingredients your skin is exposed to, and the smaller the chances of your skin reacting to something.
If you have sensitive skin, your best friend for cleansing will be micellar waters like the Derma E Vitamin C Micellar Cleansing Water* which contains a probiotic and Rooibos which is full of antioxidants. It even has vitamin C to brighten your skin a little bit.
You can also go with anything that is specifically designed for sensitive skin and doesn’t have irritating ingredients in it like the Derma E Soothing Cleanser* which has aloe vera, glycerin, green tea extract, and chamomile extract which are all great for sensitive skin.
If your sensitive skin is on the drier side, try Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser*. It’s meant for extra sensitive skin that’s dry or very dry and also contains chamomile extract, as well as many moisturizers.
Stay away from foaming cleansers as they tend to be too harsh for sensitive skin.
Exfoliating Sensitive Skin
Most people with sensitive skin favour chemical exfoliation over physical. The reason is that physical exfoliation uses small particles to loosen the dead skin cells and these particles can hurt and irritate.
Chemical exfoliation uses acids to dissolve the glue holding skin cells together.
There are two different types of acids you can use: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or the one and only beta hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid.
AHAs are better for the drier type. They’re a little more gentle and a little less drying so seek out AHA exfoliators like the Derma E Overnight Peel with AHAs* which stays on overnight to reveal softer skin in the morning. It contains glycolic acid, an exfoliating acid perfect for dry skin, and lactic acid, an exfoliating acid that’s super gentle for sensitive skin.
On the other hand, if your skin is on the oily side, and/or your skin is acne-prone, salicylic acid is great because it unclogs your pores by exfoliating the insides of them and more importantly, it has anti-inflammatory properties. Look for salicylic acid exfoliators like the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant*.
Salicylic acid can have a tendency to be slightly drying though so if your skin starts to become irritated from this, stop using it immediately. Luckily this exfoliator has a couple of skin-soothing ingredients and antioxidants to counteract this.
Toning Sensitive Skin
To be very honest with you, I think toning is technically unnecessary and with sensitive skin, the less products in your skin care routine, the better. So if you choose not to use a toner, that’s completely okay.
If you do want to use one though, my main tip? Alcohol-free! Alcohol is too irritating for sensitive skin and can dry it out.
If you do want to give a little extra soothing something to your skin, I suggest The Body Shop’s Aloe Vera Toner* because it has very little ingredients so it doesn’t irritate and aloe vera is an amazing anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Moisturizing Sensitive Skin
It is critical that you wear a sunscreen every day.
But you don’t want to be using just any sunscreen; you want to be using mineral sunscreen.
Mineral sunscreen doesn’t have any synthetic or harsh UV filters in it. Instead, it contains mineral UV filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – both of which are great for sensitive skin!
An awesome mineral sunscreen for drier skin is this one from Alba Botanica which has a rich, moisturizing formula – I use it myself! I do not recommend it for oily skin, however, as it would probably be too greasy. For oily skin, try the Avene mineral sunscreen* with an ultra-light formula and SPF 50.
When going to bed, a soothing treatment is great for your skin. More specifically, a soothing treatment with aloe vera! I have a great and simple recipe for an aloe vera treatment in my free natural skin care ingredient handbook! While you’re there, check out the soothing cucumber and aloe face mask that will work wonders for sensitive skin too!
When Trying New Products
As I said at the beginning of this post, trying new skin care products often results in a rash or some form of your skin hating you. And after reading this post, there may be some new products you want to try but you may be too scared to try them.
So I want to give you 2 tips for trying new products when you have sensitive skin:
1. Patch Tests
When trying new products, always do a patch test first. A patch test is basically when you test a product on a small patch of your skin.
The reason for this is if your skin reacts horribly to a product you’re trying, then you don’t have a red rash all over your face. Instead, it’s just in a small patch on your arm or somewhere else that’s not noticeable.
The best area to do a patch test is on the inner forearm/inner wrist because that skin is fairly sensitive, just like your face.
Steps to do a patch test:
- Place a small amount of product on the inside of your arm.
- Wait 24 hours.
- If your skin reacts, wash the product off immediately. If it does nothing, then you’re good to go!
2. Take it Slow
Another important thing is to not rush into a bunch of new products at the same time. If you end up reacting to something, how will you know what new product is causing the reaction?
Plus, it’ll make your skin go crazy which is definitely something you don’t want with sensitive skin.
If you do these two things when trying any of the new skin care products I suggested or just trying new products in general, your skin will thank you!
To read about more ingredients that are great for your skin, go snag my free skin care ingredient handbook for amazing natural skin care ingredients and DIY recipes! You can click the image below to receive a download right to your inbox!
Do you have sensitive skin? If you do, how do you take care of it?