If you’ve ever suffered from red or dry patches of skin, blemishes, itching and tingling, or even stinging or burning, you may have what is commonly referred to as “sensitive skin.” You may find your skin gets aggravated by certain skincare products or make-up, and in serious cases, your skin may break out in a rash.
Miami-based dermatologist, Dr Marianne Blyumin-Karasik, says that people who struggle with sensitive skin commonly have hyperactive immune systems. These systems read certain conditions or products as enemies and then react to them, resulting in breakouts, redness, stinging, burning and itching.
Sensitivity is most commonly brought on by skincare or make-up products that are too harsh for the skin, fluctuations in hormone levels and environmental / weather conditions (including air conditioning!).
If you struggle with sensitivity, follow these tips to minimise reactions and discomfort.
Skincare and household products containing fragrance
Fragrance is the number one allergen – especially florals, mints and citrus. Opt for fragrance-free skincare and cleaning products instead.
Sodium lauryl sulphate
If you’ve had your hair Brazilian blow-dried, you’ll be familiar with this chemical. Sodium lauryl sulphate is an emulsifier that breaks down lipids, dirt and oil. It’s commonly found in shampoos, soaps and cleansers and if your skin is sensitive, this may add to its dryness and irritability. Select skincare that is specially formulated for sensitive skin, as these products contain a lower concentration or milder form of this harsh ingredient.
Strong active ingredients
Some anti-ageing and anti-blemish skincare products contain active ingredients to perform their function. Stay away from harsh ingredients like retinol, growth factors and peptides.
Look out for:
Vitamins E and B5 help restoring moisture to very dry skin, while natural ingredients such as aloe, coconut oil and camomile will help to soften and smooth your skin.
Drink water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated, and include plenty of fish, nuts, seeds and veggies in your diet.
If you struggle with sensitivity, you should be wearing an SPF every day, all year round. Look out for a sensitive skin formulation and avoid fragranced sunscreens.
Other articles you may be interested in:
Different cleansers for different skin concerns
Our top five skin-saving facials
Feed your skin: women
Your skin by the decade: 50 – 60+
Why you should include oils in your skincare routine